Beech Hill Farm Solar Panels Installation

College of the Atlantic became the first college to go carbon-neutral in 2007. Since then, our approach has evolved toward engaging students in a comprehensive, experiential educational approach to all aspects of sustainability and eliminating our reliance on fossil fuels. In 2019, for the fourth year in a row, COA was named the greenest college in America by The Princeton Review in their  Top 50 Green Colleges list. We also topped Sierra Club’s Cool Schools ranking in 2016, 2017, and 2019.

Together we wrestle with putting human ecology into action on campus and in the world, and in the process we often find ourselves changing not just light bulbs but also our conceptions of what it means to be “green.” From the food we eat to the energy we consume, the courses we teach, and the community that we build together, our commitment to environmental and social justice is an effort that engages faculty, staff, and students in the intellectual and practical life of the college.

COA is taking actions to reduce our footprint as part of our long term strategy to: phase out single-use plastics; reduce, recycle and compost waste; conserve energy & transition to renewable sources; source food sustainably; and use non-toxic cleaning products. We are proud to be a part of Sustainable MDI, a growing group of area businesses working together in this effort to protect our planet. 


  • NEWS
    Energy Retrofit is All-Hands Effort
    There’s plenty of opportunity to get involved with practical energy work and apply knowledge from sustainability classes as students join College of the Atlantic’s Community Energy Center for a significant energy retrofit of one of the school’s buildings.
  • NEWS
    COA Is Nation’s Greenest College
    Leading the way with a focus on renewable energy, zero waste, and a curriculum focused on sustainability, College of the Atlantic is named the #1 green college in the country in Sierra’s Cool Schools ranking for the second year in a row.
  • NEWS
    Introducing…. Islands: Energy, Economy and Community
    Nick Urban ’15 shared his internship experience while working with Samsø Energy Academy in Denmark at the Human Ecology Forum on April 8. The forum also served as an information session for the 3-credit course Islands: Energy, Economy and Community being offered at COA.