Our Energy Plan

Adopted in 2010, the Bates’ first Climate Action Plan set an ambitious goal of carbon neutrality of 2020 for the college. With the recent changes to our central heating plant – switching from fossil fuels to a renewable, tree-based fuel oil – as well as our intensive energy efficiency improvements, we have hit our goal, and are now carbon neutral. After working for several years with students, staff, and faculty, we have been able to craft our new Sustainability Roadmap for the coming decade, with a goal of becoming not just carbon neutral, but Climate Positive. This means sequestering more carbon than one emits. In addition, our new plan sets forth goals around diversity and inclusion, student engagement, academic classes, and new building construction.

Energy Projects

Energy Efficiency

Our Energy Manager has been working tirelessly to eliminate energy waste and make us energetically lean through energy efficiency measures. From attic insulation, to new windows, to enhanced building and motor controls, we are quickly eliminating wasteful systems and practices on campus.

Renewable Fuel Oil

We have converted our central steam plant from natural gas to a renewable fuel oil, which is a heating oil substitute made from tree offcuts. It has a greenhouse gas footprint of only 15% of heating oil, and is 100% renewable. Our central heating plant provides heating for 80% of our buildings. We are also using a second renewable fuel in our heating plant known as LR100, which is recycled vegetable oil.


Bates is in the process of converting its florescent lighting to LEDs campus-wide.  LEDs last for 25 years, contain no mercury, and operate for a tenth of the electricity of incandescent bulbs. They also produce a better quality light, with no flicker effect and a more natural spectrum of colors.

Student Solar Installation

Bates students don’t shy away from getting their hands dirty. We have installed Bates’ first solar array with the help of Revision Energy and Bates students. It provides enough electricity throughout the year to power 100% of the parent building’s total electrical load. And we are currently building a large solar array which will account for 3/4s of Bates’ total electrical usage, which will completed this summer!

Electric Cars Bates WebElectric Car Charging Stations

Bates has installed 14 new electric car charging stations for students, staff, and faculty. Part of this installment was made possible by grants from Tesla Motors, Central Maine Power, and Efficiency Maine. The majority of these grants were written by the students themselves. Why are we switching over from gas to electric? Aren’t emissions still being generated at the power plant? Find out how much greener the lifecycle costs of electric vehicles are here. If you are visiting Bates, and would like to use our EV charging stations, please use this EV vehicle resource.

Energy Data

This interactive dashboard presents our emissions data extending back to 2001.


Because it represents the largest section of our greenhouse gas emissions, the construction and operation of our buildings have been crucial to our success at reducing our footprint. Learn more about what our efficiency measures implemented on buildings are.


Bates has recently been labelled #1 in the world for its clean Energy program by AASHE STARS. The Princeton Review has ranked Bates as the #5 Top Green School nationally on its Green Honor Roll.


We can cut down on our carbon footprint in little ways by offering more sustainable options to get out an about on and off campus. Check out some of these options:

To & From Campus 

Around Town & Campus 

Electric Vehicles on Campus

Learn more… Teaching Sustainability at Bates