Success Stories

Willamette University and Dickenson University Solar Panels
Willamette University just built Kaneko Commons, built to LEED standards and with solar panels installed.  The solar panels are not very large, with only a 10kw capacity.  While they will probably not break even financially over the twenty years until the panels need to be replaced and they don’t actually provide a lot of power, the main reason they were installed has to do with the commitment to sustainability at Willamette.  Dave Rigsby of Willamette University said it had to do with trade-offs, and the values of the university ranked higher than the financial burden, and the decision makers ultimately found solar panels to be a good use of money. 

Dickenson University also recently installed solar panels in September of 2007.  Their Web site shows how much power is being harnessed at any one time, and how much electricity has been gained since the panels were installed.  As the Web site explains, “The project will create a 60.28 kilowatt array of photovoltaic cells (devices that convert photons from the sun into electricity), and will involve the installation of 274 SunPower 220 Watt Modules with racking and inverters.”  Their project funding was aided by a PA Department of Environmental Protection Energy Harvest Grant, which matches the money the university spent installing the panels.  This, along with the president’s commitment to sustainability made convincing the administration to install the panels fairly easy, said Stephanie Hair, Sustainability Specialist at Dickenson College.  


 Middlebury College Drying RacksMiddlebury College Drying RacksMiddlebury College Drying RacksMiddlebury College Drying RacksMiddlebury College Drying Racks
For the last five years Middlebury College in Vermont has been implementing a drying rack campaign to reduce the amount of energy that the university is using.  The program has seen a number of different forms over the years that involve selling racks to their students as well as renting them out at the beginning of the year.  This program is target more towards the first year students who live in the commons and is advertised via flyers sent out with general freshmen mailings that include a letter about the sustainably-minded community that they are about to join, and encouraging them to think about their individual lifestyle practices.

Last year (2006-07) there were only 65 students who purchased the drying racks instead of renting them, which the university decided was not enough interest to continue selling the racks, so this year the program is in operation only with racks for rent.

This is a program that is still in development at Middlebury, but one that they hope to see grow.  There are students working with the campus sustainability coordinator to explore ways that they might be able to expand the program because, according to their coordinator, “anything that can conserve energy will get done.”

Program Quick Facts

  • Average number of dryer loads per Midd Kid: 29 per year (rough estimate)
  • Amount of fuel to run a dryer for one hour: 3.3 gallons
  • Amount of CO2 emitted by one hour of drying: 86 pounds
  • Amount of CO2 saved if every Midd Kid used a drying rack: 4.5 million lbs./year
  • Amount of money each Midd Kid would save using a drying rack: $29/year (based on rough estimate of the number of loads run by each kid per year)

** Data found from Middlebury promotional materials.