Our Commitment to Smart Energy

Amherst College has a long-standing commitment to using smart energy practice and energy conservation strategies. We have enthusiastically incorporated energy conservation strategies in the operation, renovation and construction of our facilities and encourage students, faculty and staff to reduce power usage in a number of ways.


Two students in a dorm room

Sustainable Dorm Living

There are a range of energy-saving strategies that we encourage our students to practice in their day-to-day living in our dorms.

A young man riding on a bicycle

Getting Around

America’s dependency on the car is one of the most significant influences on our carbon “footprint.” Amherst is a walk-friendly campus with a number of public transportation options.

Summer Energy Strategies

Summer in Amherst brings green landscapes, warmer weather, and increased electricity demand. Several times during the summer, our electrical grid operator will ask us to curtail our power usage to reduce the regional peak demand.  When the total electric load in the region reaches a certain level or peak, older and higher-polluting power generating equipment is brought online and in the worst case, brownouts and voltage reductions can occur. 

As a large user of electrical power in the region, we have a significant role to play in reducing this peak demand and enhancing grid reliability.  Our participation also benefits the environment by reducing these pollutants and carbon emissions.

When you receive an email asking you to reduce your power usage, it is important that as many of us as possible participate. If you can, please do the following:

  • Turn off all wall and window air conditioning units.
  • Turn off all non-essential lights.
  • Turn of copiers, fax machines and any other non-essential office machinery.
  • Unplug docking stations for electronic devices such as cell phones or laptops.
  • Check in with your colleagues to ensure they received the notice.  
  • Check common spaces and turn off non-essential lights and other electronic equipment.   

Since many of these notifications to curtail energy use occur later in the afternoon, please consider incorporating these activities into your daily routine when you leave the office. Not only will this help us meet our power curtailment responsibilities, it helps us conserve energy which is important to our environmental and financial sustainability.

If you have any questions about our power curtailment or are interested in exploring ways you can reduce the energy use in your office space, please contact the service center or Laura Draucker, our Director of Sustainability.

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