August 2008

Illustration: iStockphoto

Going Green

Money raised by the Tufts community will fund clean energy on campus and in low-income communities

Tufts University's focus on sustainability will go beyond campus this fall, as a program to finance green energy projects locally and throughout Massachusetts is opened up to students, faculty and staff.

Tufts is the first university in the state to sign an agreement with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) to join "Clean Energy Choice-On Campus," a green energy development program coordinated by the collaborative.

By supporting the development of energy from wind, solar and other renewable resources, collaborative members reduce Massachusetts' reliance on coal, oil and other fossil fuels that contribute to air pollution and global warming.

The goal of the program, which starts in September, is to raise some $15,000 through donations averaging $15 per person, says Tina Woolston, project coordinator for Tufts' Office of Sustainability.

Those contributions will be used to purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) from Sterling Planet, a developer and marketer of renewable energy. When a renewable energy facility generates electricity, it makes two things: electric power and RECs. The certificates represent the environmental benefits of renewable energy.

"By purchasing RECs, Tufts community members not only guarantee that the electricity they are responsible for is not generating greenhouse gas emissions, but by supporting clean energy they are also helping the university, the town and low-income families in Massachusetts," says Woolston.

For every dollar donated by members of the Tufts community, the MTC will create a matching grant of $2. If Tufts raises $15,000, the MTC will donate $30,000, to be divided three ways.

One-third will be available to Tufts for future alternative energy sources on campus, such as solar panels and wind turbines. Another third will be put into a fund for renewable energy programs in Medford. The remaining funds will go into an account administered by MTC for green energy projects in low-income communities across the state.

When the program starts in September, people will be able to make donations in a variety of ways. Members of the Tufts community can make donations now at the Office of Sustainability, located at the Tufts Institute of the Environment in the basement of Miller Hall at 210 Packard Ave.

Tufts' participation in the program, Woolston says, is consistent with the university's leadership role in making sustainability a campus-wide priority and will help Tufts reach its aim to meet or beat the goals set by the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases.

For more information on the project, go to

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