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UMF Green Pledges Could Save 3,000 Tons of Carbon Annually

The University of Maine Farmington beat out 18 other colleges nationwide in a Climate Savers competition to recruit faculty, students, and staff to pledge to commit to sustainable computing practices. The university won with more than 24 percent of the campus community pledging to power down their computers and buy an Energy Star-qualified computer for their next PC purchase.

The contest sponsor estimates that if the people who have signed on follow through with their commitments, the 17,000 pledges could offset 3,000 tons of carbon per year and save 4.2 million kilowatt-hours of energy. Cost savings could collectively reach $450,000 a year.

"The University of Maine at Farmington won by getting the highest percentage of their campus to pledge," said Pat Tiernan, executive director of Climate Savers. "Their commitment means they'll offset 125 tons of carbon per year and save 164,000 kilowatt-hours of energy and more than $17,000 in energy costs."

Climate Savers is an international nonprofit organization working to reduce IT-related energy waste. The organization collaborated with the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Start program to present the pledge challenge, called Power Down for the Planet.

"Our success was the result of students talking to other students, faculty spreading the word in classes, student organizations hanging up posters, and so on," said Tom O'Donnell, manager of network and server systems at the university's computer center. "Farmington is a close-knit community, and people pull together for a good cause. In fact, environmental stewardship is written right into our mission statement. Winning the Power Down for the Planet contest is another exciting example of our dedication to the environment."

Participating universities have agreed to make a commitment to use power management on university-owned PCs and to incorporate energy efficiency criteria for future PC and server purchases.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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