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
OP-11: Sustainable Procurement

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 3.00 Andrea Russell
Sustainability Coordinator and Community Energy Center Program Manager
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have written policies, guidelines or directives that seek to support sustainable purchasing across commodity categories institution-wide?:

A copy of the policies, guidelines or directives:

The policies, guidelines or directives:

The Campus Environmental Initiative:

In the Fall of 1996, the All College Meeting formally approved the following
Campus Environmental Initiative as College policy. The mission of College of the Atlantic Campus Environmental Initiative is to prioritize an environmental responsibility into all policies, programs and practices. The Initiative will directly stimulate the development of projects that enhance the sustainability of both the educational and physical landscape.

The core of the initiative is a strategic plan to be used as a reference for staff, faculty and students. The plan identifies aspects of management where resources are not environmentally and economically efficient. In such areas community members will work to implement more sustainable alternatives. The Campus Environmental Initiative aims to teach all community members about local and low-impact living and operating and to develop College of the Atlantic into a showcase of sustainability. The success of the Initiative will be evaluated periodically through environmental audits that evaluate its progress in achieving the following goals and commitments:

College of the Atlantic is committed to instituting environmentally and socially responsible purchasing policies.
College of the Atlantic is committed to reducing campus waste.
College of the Atlantic is committed to the maximization of energy efficiency and to using sustainable energy sources.
College of the Atlantic is committed to enhancing sustainability in land-use and building planning.
College of the Atlantic is committed to encouraging low fossil-fuel transport.
College of the Atlantic is committed to providing curricular opportunities of study of campus and local environmental issues.
College of the Atlantic is committed to utilizing regional and organic food sources.
College of the Atlantic is committed to environmentally and socially responsible development and investment.
College of the Atlantic is committed to green public outreach.
College of the Atlantic is committed to enabling access of tools for sustainability.
College of the Atlantic is committed to a physical infrastructure, institutional practices and personal behaviors that will foster public health.

(Passed 1996)

Does the institution employ Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) when evaluating energy- and water-using products and systems?:

Which of the following best describes the institution’s use of LCCA?:

A brief description of the LCCA policy and/or practices:

Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating chemically intensive products and services (e.g. building and facilities maintenance, cleaning and sanitizing, landscaping and grounds maintenance)?:

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for chemically intensive products and services:

College of the Atlantic Green Cleaning Guidelines:

College of the Atlantic has been committed to green products for cleaning and maintenance since its founding. Such practices are intrinsic to the spirit of our campus
and community and are fundamental to environmental sustainability. All cleaning
products are purchased by a dedicated Buildings and Grounds staff member. These
guidelines articulate existing practices and document procedures for present and future
COA staff, faculty and students.

In support of COA’s mandate to reduce unnecessary chemicals on campus, reduce our environmental impact, and increase human health and safety on campus, College of the Atlantic continues to actively pursue environmentally friendly cleaning products, recycled and post-consumer paper products, and non-toxic wax and painting products.

1. Whenever possible, COA will procure green seal certified cleaning products.

2. COA has a long-standing relationship with our supplier, and will continue to foster such relationships, ensuring that as new green cleaning products become available, or as others are taken off the market, we have an industry connection to help facilitate continuity of procurement.

3. In accordance with the Wood and Paper Products Procurement Policy, COA will purchase post-consumer, recycled, or tree-free paper products.

(Updated February 2016)

Furthermore, COA's buildings are cleaned exclusively by college buildings and grounds staff throughout the year, except for one week between the school year and the summer season when we contract with an outside cleaning crew to prepare two of our residences for summer use. Section 12 of that contract states: "[the contractor] will use its line of Green Cleaning Chemicals certified by Green Seal, when cleaning the area to be serviced. If [the contractor] feels that a non-green cleaning product is needed to solve a cleaning problem, they will contact the CLIENT’s designee (Director of Summer Programs or her designee) to see if a product that the CLIENT has found effective could be used before going to an uncertified product. Use of any uncertified product will be pre-approved by the CLIENT’s designee."

Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating construction and renovation products (e.g. furnishings and building materials)?:

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for construction and renovation products:

The Sustainable Building Policy:

Campus Committee for Sustainability (CCS) recognizes that any growth or new building construction could potentially put College of the Atlantic even further from its long-term environmental and climate commitments, including those towards energy and waste reduction. In order for COA to create a more holistically sustainable campus, it is imperative that the College adopt a policy for new building spaces that is consistent with its other sustainability commitments and initiatives.

The Sustainable Building Policy formalizes and codifies COA’s commitment to sustainable design for all new building spaces on its campuses. This policy addresses a wide range of areas in sustainability, including energy use, discarded resource management, water use, and the selection of building materials, through outlining minimum standards that must be achieved through the design and operation of all new building spaces.

The standards stated in this policy are intended to inform Campus Planning and Building Committee (CPBC), the Buildings and Grounds Committee, and the College as they develop goals for future building projects and work with each project’s architect and general contractor to ensure the sustainability of any new building space and documentation of efforts towards sustainability made during the design and construction process. These standards apply only to the design and long term operational life of the new building space, and not to the construction period . Separate standards for sustainable construction based on the Kathryn W. Davis Residence Village project have already been developed by CPBC.This policy does not replace the existing process for setting goals on new building spaces, but rather it supplements the process with standards that must continually be met for each new project.

In this policy, a “new building space” refers to any renovation or addition made to an existing building or to the construction of any new building or structure unless otherwise specified in this document. The standards stated in this policy apply to any new building space on any COA-owned property that will either have a heating, ventilation, or air-conditioning system, connection to electricity, access to water supply, and/or the capacity to generate discarded resources.

The implementation of these standards should maintain or increase the quality of life for those who utilize, occupy, and/or maintain the new building space.


Energy Use
Passive solar potential must be evaluated when determining the design and orientation of a new building space.
All heating systems installed in a new building space must be powered by carbon-neutral fuels.
All electricity use within a new building space must be either offset directly with on-site renewable energy or with green purchased power & renewable energy certificates.
Total energy use (heating & electricity) of new building spaces (excluding renovations) must meet or exceed 30% reduction of the most current ASHRAE building standards.
Real-time energy use monitoring systems must be present for any new building space.
Appropriate locations for the potential installation of clotheslines must be identified adjacent to any new residential building space.

Discarded Resource Recovery and Management
New building spaces must incorporate a design that encourages zero-waste practices.
Receptacles for recycling and reuse of materials, including organic material (compost), must be incorporated throughout the new building space.
Isolated waste receptacles throughout the new building space must be minimized. Whenever possible, each waste receptacle must be accompanied by a full suite of recycling and reuse receptacles.
Design of the new building space must facilitate the placement of easily accessible, clear, and consistent signage for all locations with discarded resource receptacles.

All new building spaces (excluding renovations) must include infrastructure to enable easy handling and removal of discarded resources to appropriate processing locations. Renovations whenever possible should improve such existing infrastructure.f. Restroom facilities within new building spaces must incorporate human manure recycling systems such as composting toilets whenever possible.

Water Use
New building spaces must incorporate design for greywater and non-toxic rainwater collection systems whenever possible.
Water meters must be installed for all new building spaces to monitor hot and cold water use.
All water fixtures installed in a new building space must conform to the most current EPA WaterSense specifications.

Building Materials
Recycled, reused, and locally sourced/manufactured (within a 500 mile radius) materials, as well as certified rapidly renewable, sustainably-harvested, non-toxic, and low-emission building materials must be considered before the purchase and use of any new materials in the construction of a new building space.
Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) and/or documentation of sources and environmental and social impacts of building materials used in the construction of a new building space must be provided whenever possible.
The use of high-embodied energy materials throughout the construction of a new building space must be avoided whenever possible.

(Passed 2015)

Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating Information technology (IT) products and services (e.g. computers, imaging equipment, mobile phones, data centers and cloud services)?:

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for IT products and services:

COA Information Technology Purchasing Guidelines:

Information Technology (IT) officers at College of the Atlantic consider the procurement of environmentally friendly IT products to be intrinsic to the spirit of our campus and community, and fundamental to environmental sustainability.  

In support of COA’s mandate to reduce our environmental impact, and in support of a consumer-driven transition to a low-carbon economy, the IT department actively pursues EPEAT Gold and Energy Star certified IT products and services. EPEAT is a free and trusted source of environmental product ratings that makes it easy to select high-performance electronics that support organizations’ IT and sustainability goals. Managed by the Green Electronics Council, EPEAT currently tracks more than 4,400 products from more than 60 manufacturers across 43 countries.

IT staff involved with purchasing products and services are very experienced in navigating the marketplace and choosing as many high-performing items as possible, as is evident from the number of EPEAT Gold standard purchases each year.  

When making IT purchases, the following guidelines are considered:

1.        Before purchasing new equipment, IT purchasing staff will inquire as to the level of necessity to ensure the institution is not purchasing more than it really needs.

2.        Whenever possible, and where budgetary constraints allow, IT purchasing staff will acquire EPEAT Gold, or otherwise highly energy efficient equipment such as Energy Star certified CPUs.

3.        If EPEAT Gold is unavailable, EPEAT silver equipment may be acquired.

Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating food services (i.e. franchises, vending services, concessions, convenience stores)?:

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for food services:

Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating garments and linens?:

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for garments and linens:

Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating professional services (e.g. architectural, engineering, public relations, financial)?:

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for professional services:

Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating transportation and fuels (e.g. travel, vehicles, delivery services, long haul transport, generator fuels, steam plants)?:

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for transportation and fuels:

Energy Framework:


Given that the use of fossil fuels is changing the climate and that the current rate of energy consumption by individuals, the campus, and global community is unsustainable, College of the Atlantic will meet its energy needs by using local and renewable energy sources. This will enable the college to become a fossil fuel free campus by 2030. This goal will be achieved both by reducing our overall energy consumption and by using fossil fuel free sources of energy.

The college strives to make COA a laboratory for students, faculty, and staff to explore the diverse prospects of a more sustainable energy future. A central part of the energy plan will include classes and project-based learning where students can practice the interdisciplinary skills needed to promote responsible energy use. Students will be involved in designing, constructing, maintaining, and monitoring all necessary changes on the campus, including its islands and farms. The college will be a place where energy production is an attractive and healthy part of the landscape, enhancing the quality of our lives, education, community, and environment.

These experiences, along with the college’s interdisciplinary curriculum in human ecology, will prepare students to become advocates for the ecological integrity of the climate and planet and give them tools to influence change in their chosen professions and communities.

As the college moves toward a fossil fuel free campus by 2030, it is faced with the challenge of improving the energy efficiency of older buildings before trying to retrofit them with renew- able heating systems. Improving the energy efficiency of buildings typically includes adding insulation, plugging leaks, and, where cost effective, as in the renovation of Turrets, installing energy-efficient windows and doors.

The technologies already exist to replace fossil fuel heating systems with renewable sources of heat. The challenge will be selecting, designing, and financing renewable heating systems to meet the needs of the wide variety of buildings on campus, a challenge that will provide opportunities for student involvement throughout the entire process.

More easily accomplished will be increasing the amount of solar electricity generated on campus. Actions taken to transition buildings to renewable heating sources and the continued sourcing of electricity from large wind farms while increasing on-campus solar PV will reduce the college’s carbon footprint, but not eliminate it. The college can transition its fossil fuel vehicle fleet over time to alternatives such as more capable electric vehicles. However, COA will continue to rely on air travel to provide academic opportunities around the world for its students.

Teaching and learning about energy occurs in several classes at COA. Other courses, while not focused on energy, provide additional skills and background for students wishing to be effective advocates for renewable energy.

Targets and Actions

1. Reduce Fossil Fuel Use.

(a) By 2020, COA’s research stations on Great Duck Island and Mount Desert Rock will be fossil fuel free to the greatest extent possible.

(b) By 2020, Beech Hill and Peggy Rockefeller Farms will be fossil fuel free to the greatest extent possible.

(c) By 2025, 50% of all campus buildings’ primary heating sources will be fossil fuel free.

(d) By 2030, all remaining campus buildings’ primary heating sources will be fossil fuel free.

(e) By 2030, achieve a 20% reduction from fuel emissions by 2030 for COA’s collective road vehicle fleet based on 2017 baseline data. Maintain the 20% reduction even if the fleet expands.

(f) By 2030, achieve at least 20% biodiesel usage for all COA diesel vehicles, including trucks and boats.

(g) In 2030, the College will conduct a full evaluation of its progress towards the goals set out in this Framework and develop a plan based on most current technologies, policies, and financial considerations to address any remaining fossil usage from on-campus energy consumption.

2. Reduce Total Energy Consumption. Through a combination of energy efficiency and efforts to decrease individual energy consumption, total energy consumed on campus will be reduced.

(a) By 2020, reduce total on-campus energy consumption by 10 percent.

(b) By 2030, reduce total on-campus energy consumption by 20 percent.

3. Generate Electricity.

(a) By 2020, COA will generate on campus at least 15 percent of all the electricity used on campus.

(b) For all electricity not generated on campus, COA will purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) ensuring that its electricity comes from sources that do not actively emit carbon dioxide.

4. Address Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

(a) By 2020, over 50 percent of COA’s total on-campus energy consumption will be generated from fossil fuel free sources.

(b) By 2030, all on-campus energy consumption from fossil fuels will be carbon neutral through offsetting remaining carbon emissions by supporting, funding, and/or purchasing carbon credits from local renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

(d) For all College-sponsored air travel (i.e., COA has paid for the plane ticket), COA will offset the carbon released by purchasing carbon credits from renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

5. Educate. Opportunities to learn about energy and participate in projects will be made available to students of all genders, nationalities, and academic interests. Classes and student projects will build on themselves. Data from previous projects will be analyzed, current projects will be implemented, and future projects will be planned. These educational activities will help COA attain the goals laid out in this document.

(a) Each year, between 15 to 20 percent of COA’s graduating class will have taken a course in energy and/or participated in a term-long project in renewable energy or energy efficiency.

(b) Each academic year offer one introductory energy class and one intermediate, project-based energy class. Provide support for and encourage independent studies, group projects, and senior projects in energy and efficiency.

6. Experiment. Take advantage of COA’s small size and flexible curriculum to conduct experiments and explore different approaches to energy and efficiency as part of teaching, research, and community engagement efforts.

7. Monitor. Expand the quantity and quality of energy data available, make this data easily accessible, and use this information to inform continuing energy work at COA.

(a) By 2020, set up real-time monitoring of electrical and heating systems for all academic and residential buildings on campus.

(b) Establish and maintain an archive of COA energy data and energy projects, open and easily accessible to all COA community members.

(c) Create an Annex to this Energy Framework to monitor and assess progress towards the goals laid out in this Energy Framework in relation to baseline data.

8. Report. The Director of Energy Education and Management (or equivalent staff member) will report once a year to ACM on the progress made toward the targets laid out in this document.

9. Revise. The Campus Committee for Sustainability will review these targets at least every five years and will bring any changes to the ACM. CCS and the Director of Energy Education and Management, in collaboration with other administrators and campus bodies, including the Administrative Dean and the Campus Planning and Building Committee, will expand upon this framework to produce an action plan by Spring 2017, further detailing how various reductions will be achieved.

10. Fund and Finance. Funding for these initiatives will require approval of the President and Administrative Dean, who will balance the goals laid out here with other needs of the College in consultation with the Director of Energy Education and Management, as well as other students, faculty, and staff as appropriate. Where possible, seek grants and third-party funding to help finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

Technical Notes
“On-campus energy consumption” is defined as energy consumed by all activities taking place on the COA main campus, farms, research stations, and all other COA-owned properties. This includes energy consumed by the COA-owned vehicle fleet, but excludes transportation to and from these locations by personal vehicle, boat and/or airplane. This does not include “embodied energy” related to the production and transportation of food or other materials used/consumed by on-campus activities, as these energy costs are addressed by other College policies and initiatives.
Baseline data used to calculate progress towards the Energy Framework will be consumption levels averaged over a period of three years: 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13.

(Initially passed April 4, 2013; Amended January 18, 2017)

Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating wood and paper products?:

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for wood and paper products:

Wood and Paper Product Procurement Policy:

Part I

Whereas, the United States has already lost 96% of its old growth forests. Only 22% of the world’s old growth forests are still intact. 76 countries have already lost all of their old growth forests. Eleven more countries are on the verge of losing their old growth forests.

Whereas, old growth forests and tropical forest have important ecological values, as well as an existence value.

Whereas, native forests everywhere are being converted into mono-cultural plantations; for example, the Southern US is losing its native hardwood forests to pine plantations, and old growth forests in Chile are being converted into eucalyptus plantations. Engineered wood products, like chipboard or OSB, accelerate clear cutting, plantation conversion, and native forest loss. Timber companies are also experimenting with genetically engineered trees, which endanger all native forests.

Whereas, a coalition of environmental and community groups have agreed to the following for companies to meet:

No wood products from old growth forests
No wood products from U.S. public lands
No new conversion of natural forests to plantations
No purchase of-oriented strand board (OSB) from virgin tree material
No genetically engineered trees

Whereas, most the larger retail chains of wood and the top three home builders in this country have agreed to stop buying/using wood from endangered forests by 2002. As a result, a plentiful supply of wood that can be verified as not coming from endangered forest will soon become available.

Whereas, on-going mapping and monitoring work by will provide these companies and other interested parties with detailed maps showing the location of endangered forests throughout the world. Global Forest Watch, an initiative of World Resource Institute (WRI), is creating the first worldwide monitoring network that tracks threats to forests using satellite imagery and computers to gather the data and to map it out.

Whereas, the Certified Forest Products Council is a business association supported by environmentalists that certifies forest certification programs in an effort to unify independent certification efforts.

Whereas, College of the Atlantic recognizes that in the next few years new technology will bring down the price of tree-free and recycled paper, as well as provide for a wide variety of new options such as old-growth free and chain of custody tracking of all wood and paper products.

To assure that the policy is in line with current scientific knowledge on forest management. Community input will be sought from Social Environmental Action and other avenues.

Part II: Paper Procurement

Resolved, College of the Atlantic shall purchase paper that meets as many of the following criteria as possible, with the spirit of this policy insisting on meeting all of the following qualifications:

The paper contains 50% or greater post consumer recycled content. Over the next three years, COA shall meet the following goals so that at the end of 2004, GOA shall use 100% Post Consumer Recycled or Tree Free Paper.
For fiscal year 2001–2092: 50% dollar value of total paper purchases contain 100% post consumer recycled or tree free content.
For fiscal year 2002–2003: 75% dollar value of total paper purchases contain 100% post consumer recycled or tree free content.
For fiscal year 2003–2004: 100% dollar value of total paper purchases contain 100% post consumer recycled or tree free content.
The supplier certifies in writing that any virgin fiber in the paper is not originating from old growth forests.
Is certified as Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) or, if not available, Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF)
The supplier certifies in writing that the paper only contains virgin fiber from a forestry operation that is certified as sustainable. The certifying organization must be an independent, non-profit, non-government certification organization accredited by the Certified Forest Products Council, such as the Forest Stewardship Council. The products provided must meet or beat these standards. (Note: If this qualification is met, then so is #2 as long as the organization is accredited by the Certified Forest Products Council.)

NOTE: 100% post consumer recycled paper or a tree-free alternative would be the best way to meet all the aforementioned criteria.

Resolved, College of the Atlantic shall inform all staff and faculty that copies and printouts are double-sided; in order to save 50% paper use. Students shall be asked to do so as well and if no noticeable improvement (no drop in paper consumption on campus) is made by Winter 2002, the College shall examine the use of a per sheet of fee system for printers in order to discourage excess copying and/or to purchasing even more environmental friendly paper products.

Resolved, Staff of the College shall immediately begin to identify any photocopiers and printers that are not capable of double-siding or having difficulty using the high content recycled paper and report such machines to the schools purchasing agent. By 2004, COA will have replaced all equipment which does not double side.

Resolved, College of the Atlantic shall meet as many of the above criteria as possible. If a source that meets all of the required criteria is not currently available at a quality suitable for copy machines and printers (even after updating the equipment); at no time shall the College purchase paper that contains less than 30% post-consumer recycled content.

Resolved, College of the Atlantic shall explore the use of alternative tree-free paper product.

(Passed 2001)

Does the institution have published sustainability criteria to be applied when evaluating products and services in other commodity categories that the institution has determined to have significant sustainability impacts?:

A brief description of the published sustainability criteria for other commodity categories:

Containerized Water Policy: Passed 2010

The purpose of this policy is to further College of the Atlantic’s demonstrated commitment to general environmental sustainability, including responsible purchasing practices, reduction of campus waste, and reduction of energy and fossil fuel use, as outlined in Articles I, II, III and V of the Campus Environmental Initiative.

Because the Board of Trustees has discontinued its use of bottled water,

Because water containers contribute to waste and the depletion of natural resources through the containerization and transportation process,

Because there is controversy over the sustainability of the commodification of a resource as essential to existence as water,

And acknowledging that we have access to safe, potable drinking water at College of the Atlantic,

Be it resolved that College of the Atlantic will not buy, sell, accept or distribute containerized water.


The term “College of the Atlantic” includes all employees or volunteers of the college while they are operating for or in conjunction with the College as an institution on college property or at college events.
Containerized water includes bottles, jugs, cartons, and any other form of commercially packaged water intended for single-use.
Sparkling water is not included in this policy. However, this policy discourages the purchasing of sparkling water as a substitute for containerized water.

College of the Atlantic shall not purchase, accept gifts of, sell, or distribute containerized water on college property or at college events. At events where the college serves other beverages (soda, juice, coffee, etc.) it will provide equal opportunities for people to drink tap water.

The College may act contrary to this policy in the case of a tap water quality or water access emergency, as declared by the Director of Public Safety, or in the case of a pandemic.

Fair Trade Coffee Policy: Passed 2001

In March 2001, following the tenets established in the Campus Environmental Initiative, the All-College Meeting ratified the following policy regarding the purchase of Fair Trade Coffee:

College of the Atlantic will restrict the purchasing of coffee by Take A Break (our dining services) and all other offices to brands that are organic and Fair Trade Certified by TransFair USA, its successor organization or another independently monitored labeling Non Governmental Organization.

As part of this policy, the All-College Meeting also approved the following resolution:

TAB shall strive to purchase fair trade certified products whenever possible given budgetary restraints. This includes rice and most fruits and vegetables of non-US origin. No new policy will be necessary to implement such changes unless the additional cost of purchasing such products is substantial.

Meat Purchasing Policy: Passed 1998

In the Spring of 1998, the All College Meeting approved the policy that College of the Atlantic shall only purchase safe, Maine-raised meat, including beef. In this instance, “safe” means that the farms the College purchases from will have humane, free-range animal facilities and will refrain from the use of hormones, antibiotics and animal protein feed. The College will more strongly pursue the purchase of organically certified meat as it becomes available, as the number of certified farms is currently limited. This proposal does not apply to fish or seafood.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support 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.