NMH purchasing renewable energy credits

  • Northfield Mount Hermon School. Shelby Ashline

  • Northfield Mount Hermon School ecoleaders (students who coordinate campus sustainability initiatives including worm composting, recycling and a greenhouse-gas-emissions inventory) pictured on the school farm. —Contributed photo/Glenn Minshall

  • A panoramic view of the Northfield Mount Hermon School campus in Gill. —Contributed photo/Glenn Minshall

Recorder Staff
Published: 9/16/2017 5:31:27 PM

GILL — Looking to increase its use of green energy and to significantly reduce emissions, Northfield Mount Hermon School has entered into three-year electricity and renewable energy credit contracts.

According to NMH, the purchase of renewable energy credits will take effect in December, supporting the production of power from sources like wind turbines. By doing so, the school’s net release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, for 100 percent of its electricity use, will be zero.

“Sustainability is part of the learning ethos at NMH,” Becca Malloy, NMH science teacher and director of sustainability, is quoted as saying in a press statement released by the prep school. “It is important to us to show our students and alumni that we as an institution are continuing to learn and grow. What we are doing with energy — how and where we source it, use it and think about it — illustrates our commitment to embracing new ideas and making our school, community and environment a better, greener and more sustainable place.”

“Our new electricity purchase … ensures we will be powering the majority of our campus in a zero-emission fashion for years to come, fulfilling our responsibility to our students and local community as well as our mission as a learning institution,” Rick Couture, NMH’s director of plant facilities, is quoted as saying.

Over the years, NMH has taken steps toward reducing its environmental impact and increasing its energy efficiency, according to the school. The changes include using energy efficient lighting, refrigeration and variable frequency motors.

Additionally, in 2016, the school’s power plant that’s responsible for heating the campus switched from using No. 6 fuel oil to a locally-made biofuel, reducing its carbon emissions by more than 97 percent, according to the release.

Plus, Malloy said in a phone call Friday, the school’s push for sustainability makes it easy to relate its actions to lessons for her environmental science students.

“By getting a better sense of the systems that sustain us here on campus, they can see direct connections and live into their education experience,” she explained.

For example, Malloy said her students studied the school’s electricity consumption patterns and tracked its carbon footprint, particularly before and after the switch to biofuel.

Sustainability is something students have rallied behind, Malloy continued, citing a group of “ecoleaders” who coordinate campus sustainability initiatives like worm composting, recycling and a greenhouse-gas-emissions inventory. Malloy hopes the switch to using electricity and renewable energy credits will make students “feel empowered by their opportunity to put theory into practice.”

“It’s a very proud moment for the school,” she said.

Reach Shelby Ashline at: sashline@recorder.com

413-772-0261 ext. 257


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