Construction is currently underway to make Thorne Dining Hall greener. A solar hot water project intended to reduce the College's fossil fuel emissions is projected to be fully installed on Thorne's roof by the end of the academic year.

The project was made possible by a $50,000 grant the College received from the state-run Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) earlier this spring.

The project involves the installation of 24 flat plate solar collectors, which aid in the transmission of energy to solar storage tanks. This energy, according to a March 15 press release by the College, will "offset natural gas currently used to feed the dining hall's existing steam-to-water heat exchanger system."

"One of the most cost effective sources of renewable energy is the use of solar hot water. The grant from the MPUC will allow us to do this project sooner than we had hoped," said Coordinator for a Sustainable Bowdoin Keisha Payson.

Energy projections reveal that the new solar water system will cut down on fossil fuel emissions by 4.16 billion British Thermal Units (BTUs) in its first decade of use. Additionally, data logs from the system will be available for online viewing.

The project will "help serve as an important educational tool for students, faculty, staff, and guests," according to the press release.

The system figures prominently into the College's campaign for renewable energy and environmental sustainability, outlined by President Barry Mills' Climate Commitment Advisory Committee's (CCAC).

"Increasing use of renewable energy has an important role to play in Bowdoin's Climate Action Plan and our goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2020," said Payson.

-Compiled by Caitlin Beach.