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Keene State announces ambitious sustainability goals

Union Leader Correspondent

April 19. 2018 11:46PM
Keene State College interim President Melinda Treadwell and Cary Gaunt, director of sustainability at Keene State, celebrate new sustainability goals for the campus on Wednesday. (Meghan Pierce/Union Leader Correspondent)

KEENE — On the steps of the Mason Library Wednesday, Keene State College interim President Melinda Treadwell announced a new set of sustainability goals for the college, including reducing greenhouse emissions, energy and water consumption, as well as waste.

“Keene State is really stepping out as an institutional leader today, building on all of the successes we’ve had up until this point, and Dr. Treadwell has really been modeling individual responsibility in her long career supporting sustainability and environmental health and human health,” said Cary Gaunt, director of sustainability at Keene State.

Earth Day will be celebrated on Sunday, but at Keene State Earth Week is a campus-wide celebration.

“We’re actually celebrating the 48th anniversary of Earth Day,” Gaunt said Wednesday. “Earth day came about in response to people around the globe saying enough, enough. There’s been enough environmental degradation. There’s been enough disrespect of our places and our planet. There’s been enough pollution and we have to do something to make a change.”

That original Earth Day kicked off the environmental and sustainability movements, she said.

In 2016, Keene State was the first college in the nation to replace heating oil with a renewable heat source — vegetable oil. The renewable fuel provided 35 percent of the college’s steam heat in that first year.

“We were the first college in the country to switch a Number 6 heat fuel plan to a lean renewable energy, and we’re going to get to 100 percent,” Treadwell said.

Treadwell said other recent sustainability victories on campus include a bicycle sharing program and a new academic major in sustainability.

She then announced a set of new goals for the next three to five years that will help Keene State reach long-term goals into 2030 and 2050.

Some of those goals include achieving a 50 percent reduction of greenhouse gases by 2030, and carbon neutrality by 2050; reducing per capita electricity and heat load by 20 percent by 2020; reducing per capita water use by 20 percent by 2020; achieving 100 percent renewable electricity for Learning and Living Commons by 2030; achieving 100 percent solar power in the TDS Center by 2030; and increasing power from renewable sources — 50 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050.

“These are clear, specific, measurable goals and we will reach them,” Treadwell said. “These are real. This will happen at Keene State.”

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