campus news and events

Colby-Sawyer College's First Wind Turbine Turns Heads

Colby-Sawyer College's first wind turbine was installed in front of the Susan Colgate Cleveland Library/Learning Center on Saturday, July 13. The 50-foot tall Skystream 3.7 is a residential scale unit and the power it generates will feed back into the main electrical system, helping to offset the college's energy use.

Colby-Sawyer is one of the first institutions in the area to install such a turbine, according to co-founder Jeff Goodman of the New Hampshire-based company Wind Guys USA. “I'm impressed with the college's green leadership,” he said. “The turbine is a great tool to educate students and community members on what [one] can gain from heavy wind power.”

Equipped with a 24/7 web-based monitoring system with real-time access to data, students will have the ability to learn about how the technology works, and to calculate return on investment and the turbine's impact on sustainability. A grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation made the project possible.

“The data can be used in many classes – certainly in business courses, as renewable energy and energy conservation have become major components of most businesses,” said Colby-Sawyer College's Sustainability Coordinator Jen White '90. “Our Environmental Studies and Environmental Sciences students will benefit as well. We hope to have a class on renewable energy systems in the future, too.” The turbine, at an average windspeed of 12.5 mph, can produce 400-450 kWh per month and offset more than 6,000 pounds of global warming pollutants every year. It joins a demonstration-sized solar panel display that was installed on campus last year as a precursor to Colby-Sawyer's 517-panel photovoltaic array that ranks among the largest in the state.

The proposal for the installation of demonstration-sized renewable energy projects on campus was co-developed by White and Environmental Studies major Andy Chase '13. Power generated by these energy projects will offset the college's energy consumption and feed back into the main electrical system of the college. In addition to its green impact, visible projects like the wind turbine or the pole-mounted solar panels will allow the college to communicate its commitment to sustainability and open new marketing possibilities.

During the instillation project, White shared her enthusiasm for the college's many sustainability projects. “I'm really excited about the turbine,” she said. “It is great to be able to offer students tangible access to these new energy technologies.” Environmental Studies major Phurchhoki Sherpa '15 witnessed the installation and said the wind turbine will add more impact to the college's sustainability initiative. “Now that we have the turbine right on campus, students will be even more conscious of their own energy consumption,” she added.

About Colby-Sawyer and Sustainability at the College

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire.

The wind turbine was installed as part of the campus-wide initiative to eliminate the college's greenhouse gas emissions, integrate sustainability into the curriculum and overall educational experience, and achieve the shared vision of personal well-being, social justice, financial security and environmental stability for the college and the larger community. Colby-Sawyer's goal of achieving a carbon-neutral campus by 2050 was established in its Climate Action Plan and approved by the college's Board of Trustees on May 7, 2010. Milestones along the way include a 50 percent reduction in emissions by 2015 and a 70 percent reduction by 2020.

For more information about Colby-Sawyer College's green initiatives, programs and progress, visit

Anurup Upadhyay '15

Anurup Upadhyay is a Business major at Colby-Sawyer College and a student writer for College Communications.