What Impact Could 100% Renewable Energy Make at Trinity?

MADISON BOYD ’20
CONTRIBUTING WRITER
On Tuesday October 3rd Environment America released ten fact sheets regarding the feasibility of college campuses going 100% Clean Energy.
The beginner’s guide to renewable energy initiatives is in regards to the topics most important to establish a college functioning on clean energy and promoting it in the surrounding community. These topics consist of on campus solar energy, on campus wind energy, solar heating and hot water, geothermal energy, renewable energy purchasing, energy efficiency in campus buildings, microgrids and energy storage, electric transportation, sustainable transportation, and energy conservation.
In response to this release I asked prominent environmental law advocate in Hartford, Sara Bronin, to speak on the topic of college campuses and their role in clean energy initiatives.
Sara Bronin, lawyer and Faculty Advisor of the Center for Energy and Environmental Law at UConn Law in Hartford, has demonstrated great support for a college campus, especially Trinity, to take the steps necessary for a sustainable campus:
“Climate change affects each and every one of us, and taking steps to mitigate its negative impacts is beneficial to everyone in the Hartford community – Trinity students and full-time residents alike. We’ve been feeling the real-life impacts of climate change in Hartford: increasingly severe winter storm systems, more summer heat waves, and the potential for catastrophic flooding, to name a few. Adopting more renewable energy on campus is a great step in the right direction and benefits everyone in the Trinity and larger Hartford community.”
Students from the Trinity community have clearly shown their stance on changing the campus so that it may benefit the environment. Bronin mentions that a college campus taking a leading position on environmental stewardship will be a very attractive choice for prospective students. In a world where climate change is drastically changing our way of life, it is future generations that should spear head the effort for positive change.
There are many benefits a college campus taking the steps to clean energy just based off of a financial stance. As stated in the report on renewable energy purchasing, a college could take part in Power Purchase Agreements, Net Metering Credit Purchase Agreements, and Renewable Energy Credits. All of these options provide long term financial benefits for purchasing electricity from a renewable energy source.
The Fact Sheets that Environment New Jersey have released on the feasibility of a clean energy college campus back up the theories and opinions of renewable energy advocates like Bronin:
“if Trinity increases its renewable energy use while boosting energy efficiency, Trinity could save money on operations costs in the long run, with such savings passed on to students.”
Trinity College’s students have taken part in Hartford’s sustainability initiatives in the past. There is much more work to do with the city’s sustainability efforts, The Climate Stewardship Initiative, and Trinity could play a large role in setting the stage for a successful clean energy campaign on campus and in the neighborhood.

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