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EPA applauds efforts by Bennington College students and professors to save energy locally


BENNINGTON, Vermont — The Environmental Protection Agency is applauding efforts by students and staff at Vermont's Bennington College to save energy in the local community.

The EPA has released a short video that praises the voluntary efforts by Bennington College to help the local community combat climate issues by analyzing energy use of municipal streetlights and working with the local power utility to increase efficiency and save thousands of dollars.

In 2012, the EPA's New England office began an informal partnership with Bennington College to work with students in a class called "Solving the Impossible."

In the class led by Professor Susan Sgorbati students worked with officials in North Bennington, who in turn identified a program publicized by Efficiency Vermont and Green Mountain Power to convert municipal street lights to more energy efficient LED lighting.

"Their work is a great example for other schools and towns, who can duplicate the success of the Bennington Project without having to start from scratch," said EPA Regional Administrator Curt Spalding.

The students identified all street lights in the community, monitored their use, and solicited input from members of the community on the use of the lights. The class identified that some lights had been on continuously for several years.

"This was a win-win," said Bennington College President Mariko Silver. "Our students benefited by working through a complex real-world problem, and they got to see the tangible fruits of their efforts. The town will save money and reduce emissions."

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