Climate & Energy Past Projects


Biofuel Efforts

  • Biodiesel-fueled transit: UNH is transitioning its entire fleet of diesel vehicles to the use of low sulfur B20 biodiesel: in fall 2006, the UNH transit system began use of B20 in eight new CARB certified low-floor diesel buses. UNH also has six compressed natural gas (CNG) shuttle buses, four bi-fuel CNG/gas-powered pickup trucks, an all-electric non-transit utility van. In August 2006, UNH President J. Bonnie Newman, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, and officials from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) officially opened a new DOT biodiesel fueling facility on the Durham campusLearn more!
  • Biofuels speakers: In September 2006, OS - along with UNH's College of Life Sciences & Agriculture, UNH's College of Engineering & Physical Sciences, and the UNH Environmental Research Group - sponsored a public presentation and series of faculty, staff, and student research discussions with biocrop, biofuel, and biolubricant expert Dr. Duane Johnson of Montana State University's Agricultural Experiement Station.
  • Biocrops research: In 2006 , UNH Cooperative Extension and Kingman Farm, part of UNH's College of Life Sciences & Agriculture, began a research effort with a local farmer on a pilot sunflower project to test the feasibility of small-scale oil pressing and biodiesel production. The project will measure the yield of oil that can be processed into biodiesel for use on farms, the feed value of the meal that remains after the oil has been pressed from the sunflower seeds, and the food quality of the oil. In 2007, this research expanded to include testing camelina and three other brassica oilseed crops: canola, Sinapis alba"Ida Gold" (yellow mustard), and Brassica juncea "Pacific Gold" (oriental mustard) along with more sunflowers. There are approximately two acres of crops planted at Kingman Farm, 3/4 of an acre at Woodman Farm, and more at a family farm in Lee, New Hampshire. Seed pressing trials are anticipated to happen in October 2007.
  • Biofuels research: Other biodiesel research on campus includes that of the UNH Biodiesel Group and Chemical Engineering professor P.T. Vasudevan. This research covers a wide variety of areas, from the use of algae and of enzymes in biodiesel production to the automation of small-scale biodiesel micro-processors. In addition, in 2006 local business MBP, Bioenergy, LLC, of Conway, NH, won a New Hampshire Industrial Research Center matching grant of $40,000 to help fund research collaboration with College of Engineering & Physical Sciences faculty and students to research automating their patent-pending biodiesel microprocessor.
  • "Biodiesel @ UNH: Best Practices for Production, Use, Handling & Safety (PDF)" produced by the UNH Office of Environmental Health & Safety 
  • UNH Biodiesel Transition Memo produced by UNH Campus Planning and UNH Transportation Services

Bioheat UNH Employee Discount Program

Through a partnership between the Office of Sustainability’s Climate Education Initiative and Proulx Oil and Propane of Newmarket, UNH staff and students can use renewable home heating. Proulx is offering bioheat (B20) - a mix of 20% biodiesel and 80% heating oil - at a fixed price of $2.629 per gallon during the home heating season (October 1, 2007 – April 30, 2008) with no pre-buy requirement to UNH employees and students. This offer is only available through August 1, 2007. Downside protection -- the ability to pay less per gallon should market costs drop and no more than $2.629 per gallon even if market prices increase -- is also available for 15 cents per gallon. Bioheat can be used in existing oil-burning furnaces with no modification. A blend of traditional #2 heating oil and organic material such as refined vegetable oil, renewable bioheat is proven to burn cleaner than regular heating oil, thus reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, soot, and hydrocarbons. Bioheat also costs the same as traditional home heating oil sold by Proulx, and lessens reliance on foreign oil. In addition, Proulx Oil will also donate $5 from each bioheat contract signed to both the fund established to support the daughters of former UNH Office of Sustainability associate director Crescentia Healy-True, who passed away in 2006 from breast cancer, and the New Hampshire Carbon Challenge, a non-profit group located at UNH and dedicated to helping New Hampshire households reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 10,000 pounds per year. (Take the Challenge at To sign up for bioheat home heating, call Donna Lund at Proulx Oil at (800) 287-1921, mention the UNH program, and have your staff or student identification number ready. You can also email Donna at and put in the subject line "UNH Bioheat."

Cat Cycles & Bicycling on Campus

Bicycles play an important role in the Transportation Demand Management plan at UNH. As an alternative to the single occupancy vehicle, bicycling does not contribute to greenhouse gas emission, provides good exercise and reduces traffic congestion. Manged by UNH Transportation Services, the Cat Cycles program allows any member of the university community to sign out a bike at the UNH Visitor Service Center at the entrance to the "A-lot" parking lot and have sole use of the bike for up to a week. All the bikes are durable, single-speed "cruisers" equipped with a lock, fenders, and a cargo basket. Cat Cycles provides a fuel-free mode of transportation to get to any campus and downtown location in a convenient manner, all while increasing the visibility of bicycles on campus and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.


Computer Purchase & Disposal Proposal

The Computer Purchase and Disposal Proposal, which reviewed arrangements for computer purchasing and disposal at UNH and at other universities, and the subsequent Technology Policy and Planning Group Recommendations were the synthesis of an on-going policy development collaboration between the UNH Office of Sustainability, the UNH Office of Environmental Health and Safety, UNH Computing & Information Services, and the USNH Purchasing Office. The goal of this initiative was to integrate life cycle principles into the computer purchasing and disposal system at UNH.

Houghton's Energy Star Discounts

In 2005, the University Office of Sustainability partnered with Houghton ACE Hardware in Durham, Lee, and Newmarket to offer everyone in the UNH community – students and parents, faculty and staff, and local Durham-area community members and landlords – discounts on ENERGY STAR and energy efficient appliances and compact fluorescent light bulbs – up to 50% off the listed retail price on some items. The program ended in 2007 when Houghton's closed its Durham store location. UOS is now working with UNH Housing, UNH ResLife, and others to develop new ways to provide UNH students and parents with ENERGY STAR and energy efficient appliances and electronics.

INHALE (Integrated Human Health and Air Quality Research)

INHALE was an integrated assessment investigating the link between climate and public health in New England by the UNH University Office of Sustainability, the UNH Climate Change Research Center, and the UNH School of Health and Human Services. Given the regions poor air quality, INHALE focused on the relationship between air quality, weather, and asthma and broader indicators of pulmonary function. The project was closely linked with the existing AIRMAP research project and relied heavily on air quality and climate data as well as air quality forecasts generated by AIRMAP. In addition, the project relied fundamentally on the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders (state, local, private) linked to improving public health in the state and region.

"Power to the People": 2006-2007 University-wide Dialogue on Energy

Sponsored by the UNH Discovery Program, the University Dialogue is an ongoing effort to engage the UNH community in a series of discussions and activities that explore a common theme each year. In 2006, UOS partnered with the Discovery Program to bring Kathryn Blume's one-woman play about global warming - "The Boycott" - to campus as part of the "Power to the People: a University-wide Dialogue on Energy." UOS often partners with the Discovery Program to help sponsor events, speakers, films, plays, and other "happenings" to campus related to each year's Dialoge topic. UNH Chief Sustainability Officer Tom Kelly was a Dialogue author during the first Dialogue on globalization in 2005-2006, and during the 2007-2008 Dialogue on democracy UOS helped to co-sponsor a fair trade fair. Learn more about the UNH Discovery Program...

Promise of the Sun Exhibit

The UNH sustainability program  was awarded a grant from the former New Hampshire Governor's Office of Energy and Community Services (now the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning) in the early 2000's to install a photovoltaic array and companion educational exhibit in the university's student center, the Memorial Union Building. The exhibit was designed to explore the relationship between renewable energy, climate, and sustainability. Acknowledging the significance of these issues to all disciplines and professions, the exhibit was interdisciplinary and employed a variety of media including images, books, and the internet. The array generated 1 kilowawtt of power, equivalent to 15% of a typical home's electricity needs or approximately $132 per year. The array is now being used by College of Engineering & Physical Sciences faculty and students and is no longer active.

Public Health and Sustainability: Vital Signs of New Hampshire

This 2002-2003 ongoing series of programs was co-sponsored by the UNH Office of Sustainability, UNH Health Services, the UNH President's Commission on the Status of Women, the UNH School of Health and Human Services, and the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space. The series explored the integration of public health and sustainability by taking an ecological approach to a variety of issues. Program topics included climate change, air quality, and genetically modified foods, while programming ranged from Women's Commission Networking Breakfasts to presentations and panel discussions. All programs were open to the public and held on the UNH Durham campus.

Recycled Paper Initiative

In 2001, the UNH community was consuming in a twelve month period approximately 30 million sheets of copy bond paper. The first goal of the UNH Recylced Paper Initiative was to increase the recycled content of paper used by the UNH community to a percentage higher than the old UNH standard of 30% post consumer. Members of the UNH Recycled Paper Initiative - including representatives from the UNH Student Senate, the UNH Student Environmental Action Coalition, UNH Printing Services, USNH Purchasing Office, UNH Central Receiving, and the UNH Office of Sustainability issued the "Recycled Paper Initiative Report and Recommendations." Until 2006, UNH required all offices and department to purchasing 100% post consumer paper through UNH Central Receiving, saving energy, trees and landfill space. As many more 100% post consumer paper products have become more prevalent in today's market, the UNH community now purchases paper through its outside office supply contracted vendors.