Keene State College is committed to producing clean and renewable energy; in fact, we have set two ambitious energy conservation and greenhouse gas reduction goals. The first is to reduce greenhouse gasses by 50% by 2030. The second is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
The tracking of greenhouse gas emissions provides the data which informs sustainable energy initiatives on campus. View KSC’s most current GHG emission inventory.
We’ve made great strides already to meet these goals. In fact, our Heat Plant which is responsible for heating roughly 80% of campus is fueled by a clean and renewable resource called LR100, a product of LifeCycle Renewables in Massachusetts. LR100 is recycled cooking oils from the food service industry, it is considered to be carbon-neutral and meets all Environmental Protection Agency and state regulatory requirements as a renewable fuel.
Keene State College is New Hampshire’s largest generator of thermal Renewable Energy Credits because of our utilization of this renewable fuel source.
Young Student Center Living Lab showcasing and pilot testing the efficacy of proposed energy saving actions (Facility Improvement Measures and Energy Conservation Measures): lighting upgrades, kitchen equipment improvements, and building envelope enhancements
The Technology, Design, and Safety (TDS) Center earned LEED Platinum Certification by the US Green Building Council/Green Building Certification Institute and houses several academic disciplines including Architecture, Sustainable Product Design and Innovation, and Safety, Occupational Health Applied Sciences. The TDS Center’s solar installations and energy efficiency features include:
- Over 500 solar panels which our energy bill by an estimated 10 – 20%.
- Solar water heating tubes and highly efficient hybrid water heaters for storage.
- A glass curtainwall and window area are positioned on the south side of the building to maximize passive solar heating.
- Skylights help to brighten the interior of the building without the use to electricity.
The Commons, a first-year residence hall models sustainable architecture and design through geothermal heating and cooling for air and water, daylight harvesting and other advanced lighting fixtures, and the use of non-toxic materials for all interior areas. The Commons also emphasizes social sustainability by housing the College’s Living and Learning Communities for first-year students.
The Ashuelot River flows through campus and offers a variety of ecosystem services including: recreation, scenery, habitat for endangered species, and a connection to regional history dating back thousands of years. Student led projects have used cross-disciplinary methods to help protect the river. Storm drain murals have used art to bring environmental awareness to the fact that any pollutants or litter on the ground will be picked up by rainfall and enter a storm drain, which empties directly into the river.
Storm drains are essential infrastructure to cities, as they prevent flooding; Keene State students are using these murals as an opportunity to advocate for environmental stewardship and teach their community that what they leave on the ground impacts their environment. Currently, there are two storm drain murals; one is located on Wyman Way in front of the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery and the second is located under the arch connecting Elliot and the Library. Learn more about the Ashuelot River.
Food & Dining
Keene State Dining is committed to serving locally, regionally, and sustainably grown, produced and manufactured items to the greatest extent possible. These efforts are highlighted in our annual Locavore Lunch, new Green Boxes for takeout meals that combat food waste, plant-forward menus offered within the dining commons daily and commitment to minimizing and diverting food waste. The sustainability commitment of Keene State Dining is part of the College’s broader efforts to promote a culture of sustainability and accountability.
Learn more about Chartwells Sustainability Commitment.
The Louis Cabot Preserve sits on a peninsula surrounded by Lake Nubanusit and Spoonwood Pond. Acquired by the College in the early 1960s from the Nature Conservancy the preserve protects over 7.5 miles of freshwater shoreline which is among the highest ranked areas of ecological importance in New Hampshire. It’s carbon sequestration value equals approximately 1,000 tons/year. Learn more about the Cabot Preserve.
The Keene State College Athletic Complex along the Ashuelot River Bank includes a Silver Maple Floodplain Forest, an area of conservation importance. Consisting of silver maple trees and a rich ground cover of wildflowers and ferns, floodplain forest utilize disturbance from large-scale floods, which deposit silt and sand along the banks of waterways, help create and maintain unique communities of plants that tolerate flooding and require nutrient-rich soils. Floodplain forests also contribute many free ecological services to our society: they help filter pollutants to prevent them from entering streams, improve water quality, are critical in controlling erosion, and help buffer rivers against catastrophic flooding. The floodplain is also home to ecologically important vernal pools which are populated with threatened species such as Fairy shrimp and Mole salamander larvae.
Landfills are a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Which is why Keene State is committed to waste reduction and diversion. In recent years, 50% of all waste generated on campus diverted away from the landfill through reuse, recycling, and composting. Students are first encouraged to rethink what they consume and instead reuse items from the free campus thrift store, The Thrifty Owl. Keene State uses single-stream recycling, meaning all recyclables go into one container. For more information about how to recycle correctly, see the graphic below.
Composting is offered in both the Zorn Dining Commons and Young Student Center. By composting food and paper products, the KSC community is recycling nutrients that would have otherwise been lost. All food waste is collected on campus and sent to Martin’s Farm in Greenfield, MA where it undergoes the decomposition process to eventually become soil. A portion of compost is often donated back to Keene State and the Grounds Department uses it as a supplement for lawn and garden beds, creating a closed loop system.