Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.48
Liaison Spencer Gray
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

College of the Atlantic
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.75 / 4.00 Heather Albert-Knopp
Dean of Admission
Office of Admission
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
Yes

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:

In 2015 the college approved our MAP of Institutional Priorities for 2016-2021. This document includes 29 high-level priorities for the college, including the following which directly relate to sustainability:
-Implement COA’s Energy Framework to elimi­nate fossil fuels and broaden these experiences to impact the energy future of Mount Desert Island through commu­nity partnerships.
-Increase the connections between the food we consume and our understanding of the human ecology of food systems; increase the percentage of COA-grown food in our dining hall; increase attention to food preparation, storage, and literacy; align food pur­chasing power toward admirable food-production operations; and use a 9R model for food.
-Intellectually diversify and improve the utility of our islands, wilderness preserve, and farms so they become models for field-based teaching and learning.


A copy of the strategic plan:
The website URL where the strategic plan is publicly available:
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Does the institution have a published sustainability plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the sustainability plan:
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The website URL where the sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published climate action plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the climate action plan:
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The website URL where the climate action plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have other published plans that address sustainability or include measurable sustainability objectives (e.g. campus master plan, physical campus plan, diversity plan, human resources plan)? :
Yes

A list of other published plans that address sustainability, including public website URLs (if available):

At COA, many of our sustainability plans are laid out in policies passed through our governance system.

For instance, the Sustainable Building Policy, Discarded Resources and Materials Management Policy (i.e. Zero Waste Policy), Campus Environmental Initiative, and other policies and plans related to purchasing and other sustainability on campus can be found at: https://www.coa.edu/about/environmental-commitment/publications-policies/


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From the Energy Framework:
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.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Research?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Research and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From the Energy Framework:

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.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From the college's Energy Framework, approved in 2017:

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.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From the Energy Framework:

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.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The college's Sustainable Building Policy, approved in 2015, outlines objectives for all new construction on campus. 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.
-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.

The policy in its entirety may be found here:
https://www.coa.edu/about/environmental-commitment/publications-policies/


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From the Energy Framework:

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.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining and the published plans in which each objective is included:

By signing on to the Real Food Challenge, COA has committed to continuing to increase our purchasing of organic, local, and fair trade foods each year, to continuing to audit our purchases, and to looking for areas where we can increase consumption of "real" food.

In our MAP of Institutional Priorities, we outline the following objectives related to our institutional food system, which are to be completed by 2021. Please note that specific targets have yet to be developed, as the over-arching plan was just approved in 2015:

-Increase the connections between the food we consume and our understanding of the human ecology of food systems; increase the percentage of COA-grown food served in the college's dining hall; increase attention to food preparation, storage, and literacy; align food pur­chasing power toward admirable food-production operations; and use a 9R model for food.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Excerpted from the college's Wood and Paper Products Procurement Policy

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:

-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.

-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.

-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.

Our website details the other purchasing policies here: http://www.coa.edu/about/environmental-commitment/publications-policies/


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From the Energy Framework:

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

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

4. (c) 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.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Overarching goal from the Discarded Resource and Material Management (Zero Waste) Policy passed March 1, 2017:
This policy sets a goal of 90% diversion of discarded materials by 2025 based on the
weight of the College’s discarded resources in 2015. The interim goal is 70% diversion by 2020, with additional efforts to reach 100% diversion beyond 2025 as further commitment, infrastructure, and knowledge advance.

The


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Water?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Water and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The sustainable building policy sets out objectives for water use relative to new construction on campus:

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.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body (e.g. a mission statement that specifically includes sustainability and is endorsed by the Board of Trustees)? :
Yes

The formal statement in support of sustainability:

The college's mission statement regarding human ecology -- the foundation of our entire institution -- is focused on improving the ways humans interact with and impact the environment:

College of the Atlantic enriches the liberal arts tradition through a distinctive educational philosophy—human ecology. A human ecological perspective integrates knowledge from all academic disciplines and from personal experience to investigate—and ultimately improve—the relationships between human beings and our social and natural communities. The human ecological perspective guides all aspects of education, research, activism, and interactions among the college’s students, faculty, staff, and trustees.

The College of the Atlantic community encourages, prepares, and expects students to gain expertise, breadth, values, and practical experience necessary to achieve individual fulfillment and to help solve problems that challenge communities everywhere.


The institution’s definition of sustainability (e.g. as included in a published statement or plan):
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Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter Yes
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) ---
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter ---
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment Yes
The Talloires Declaration (TD) ---
UN Global Compact ---
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) ---

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.