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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Jack Byrne
Submission Date Jan. 31, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Middlebury College
IN-4: Innovation 4

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Jack Byrne
Director of Sustainability Integration
Environmental Affair
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A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

The College and the Town of Middlebury have partnered with the national Biomass Energy Resource Center to conduct a five-part study to determine if mini biomass heating districts in the Town are feasible and ecological. This is an innovative approach because it is developing a model that is not like a traditional heating district where on large facility serves a large number of users. This model would be much more useful for small rural towns that don’t have the kind of development density that is required but have access to biomass resources nearby and who want to produce biomass while restoring ecosystem services on marginal ag land and unhealthy forests.

A steering committee of three college staff, one Town staff and the Director of the county economic development agency are leading the five components of the study which cover the following areas:

- An energy profile of the Town of Middlebury to determine where mini-districts could be established
- An inventory of the various types of biomass heating and power technology that would be appropriate for small, medium and larger users of biomass as a fuel
- The development of a biomass purchasing cooperative
- Development of a community renewable energy fund to help underwrite installations of biomass equipment
- A comprehensive, field level study of the ecological capacity of farm and forestlands in the Town to produce biomass and cultivation practices that would cause more carbon sequestration in the soils where it would be produced.

This project is unique in that it is developing strategies for how a Town and College can work for the greater community to develop a local energy economy based on renewable energy sources nearby that also leads to restoration of ecosystems and greater sequestration of soil carbon.


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.