August 11, 2016

Unity College to use $40K grant to improve its heating efficiency

Known for its focus on sustainability, Unity College will use a $40,000 grant it is getting from The Sandy River Charitable Foundation on site preparation and the purchase and installation of an energy-efficient heat source.

The new heat, either wood pellet or propane heaters, will replace oil-filled furnaces at the McKay Farm and Research Station. The college has a goal of eliminating fossil fuel use and to be carbon neutral.

College officials said the money also will be used to expand access to heated greenhouse space for start-up farmers, to expand food production capabilities and to extend the growing season to help boost farm income.

Maine is a rare state in that the number of farmers aged 34 and younger grew nearly 40% from 2007 to 2012 in the latest census by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Chief Fundraising Officer Erica Hutchinson said the grant offers Unity College "a unique opportunity to retrofit the greenhouses with more energy-efficient heat sources."

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