Prestigious College in Hot Water from Going Green!

Prestigious College in Hot Water from Going Green!

Bowdoin College Wins a State Grant for a Solar Hot Water Project for their Largest Dining Facility, Thorne Hall.
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Bowdoin College turns largest dining hall into a #solar thermal #energy powerhouse. via @Greenopolis
Monday, May 3, 2010 - 11:40am


Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Maine Public Utilities Commission toward the installation of a solar hot water project for Thorne Hall, the largest dining hall on campus. The project, designed for the roof of Thorne, includes 24 glazed flat plate solar collectors, which will make up a 960-square-foot solar thermal array and the piping to solar storage tanks.

This is part of Bowdoin’s overall plan to conserve energy, eliminate waste CO2 and be carbon neutral by 2020. Seems fitting, since their mascot since 1913 has been the polar bear. The hot water generated by this solar thermal system will reduce the use of natural gas currently used to feed the dining hall's hot water system. Thorne Hall is one of the largest users of water on campus, averaging 4,800 gallons per day for hungry and thirsty students.

Over 4 billion BTUs from fossil fuels will be avoided during the first 10 years of the system's operation, according to ReVision Energy, the project consultant. That’s oil that can stay right in the ground.

The system also includes a BTU meter to monitor the system's performance online, which will help serve as an important educational tool for students, faculty, staff and guests.

Mary Lou Kennedy, Bowdoin's director of dining and bookstore services, says "The solar panels on Thorne Hall will be a tangible symbol to the students and the community of Bowdoin's diversified approach to reducing the College's greenhouse gas emissions."  The solar hot water system is expected to be up and running this spring. Go Bowdoin!

Read more about the College's Climate Action Plan here. is dedicated to our users. We focus our attention on changing the world through recycling, waste-to-energy and conservation. We reward our users for their sustainable behaviors on our website, through our Greenopolis recycling kiosks and with curbside recycling programs.