Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.48
Liaison Heather Albert-Knopp
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

College of the Atlantic
IN-25: Innovation B

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Rob Levin
Director of Communications
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
College of the Atlantic Community Energy Center

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:
The College of the Atlantic Community Energy Center (CEC), launched in 2016, is a program designed to strengthen energy education at College of the Atlantic while creating and supporting sustainability initiatives in communities across Maine and beyond. To these ends, the CEC fosters year-round student engagement with local renewable energy projects and offers continuity and support to a variety of energy projects on campus and in the community.

The CEC, through hands-on work, data collection, and educational outreach, aims to be a resource for homeowners, businesses, municipalities, and nonprofits. The goal is to empower these entities to rethink their energy consumption and generation in a way that offers economic prosperity and creates resilient communities. The CEC explores and implements innovative renewable energy projects that increase public participation, utilize novel forms of financing, and optimize local governance to establish successful community sustainability initiatives.

The CEC involves students in energy sustainability projects in a number of ways. During the academic year, the Center employs 4-5 students in a work-study capacity and utilizes several student volunteers, coordinates visits and work times with energy courses at COA, offers independent studies, and organizes student workshops. The Center also hosts COA students as Summer Energy Fellows through a paid, 10-week internship program authorized by a third party organization. In its first two seasons, the CEC hosted two Fellows; the program expands to four in 2018 to allow for greater on-campus focus.

Under the direction of the CEC Program Manager, students work on a number of community energy initiatives, including research and development of solar arrays in nearby towns, home energy audits, home efficiency upgrade projects, improving electric vehicle transportation, and working with small businesses and farms on solar energy conversions. On campus, and on COA farms, students work on energy efficiency and installing and maintaining photovoltaic arrays.

Through the CEC, students work with energy professionals, home and business owners, contractors, auditors, installers, electricians and engineers. They participate in projects with local and statewide sustainability organizations and gain networking opportunities with industry professionals and peers.

The work of the CEC is currently funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America/Renewable Energy Development Assistance program. The program aims to increase American energy independence by increasing private sector supply of renewable energy and decreasing the demand for energy through efficiency improvements, while helping to lower energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Public Engagement
Coordination & Planning

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.