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In April, the U.S. Department of Energy gave a $1 million allocation to a group of organizations-including Eastern's Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE)-to demonstrate innovative approaches for constructing energy-efficient buildings for the Accelerate Performance initiative. This national project is part of a $6 million dollar investment by the Energy Department to cut energy waste in the nation's buildings and double energy productivity by 2030. As one of the project's participants, the ISE will work closely with the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board, Eversource and United Illuminating to pilot new building construction projects in Connecticut.

The second annual Connecticut Campus Sustainability Conference brought together more than 125 participants from Connecticut higher education institutions to Eastern this past April. The forum allowed students, faculty and staff to share sustainability-related ideas and improve collaborative efforts on a number of Connecticut's college campuses. The conference highlighted 16 oral and poster presentations focusing on an array of sustainability issues, from transportation to solar power purchase agreements, to the importance of sustainability and pedagogy. The conference was organized by Eastern's Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE), the Connecticut Alliance for Campus Sustainability and Yale University's Office of Sustainability, and was sponsored by the Connecticut Green Bank and EnergizeCT.

Eastern installed its first electric vehicle charging station last winter. Located on the first floor of the Shakespeare parking garage, two dedicated parking spots are available for drivers with plug-in vehicles. The charging station was made possible with the help of a grant from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), advancing one of Governor Dannel Malloy's energy goals of having 200 charging stations available to drivers of electric vehicles throughout the state.

Eastern is the first of six universities in Connecticut to participate in Solarize U-a solar discount program that will make going solar easy and affordable for members of the Eastern community. Solarize Eastern officially kicked off last January, when its first workshop was held in the J. Eugene Smith Library. Through the program, faculty, staff and students' families have the opportunity to compare competitive bids from pre-screened installers for solar energy systems for their homes. In addition, the on-campus Institute for Sustainable Energy is providing extensive outreach and education to create awareness and build interest among employees.

The Institute for Sustainable Energy gave tours of its community garden last fall. The garden works in collaboration with Grow Windham and the Windham High School Community Program. Through promoting urban sustainability and community education, garden activities aim to show students the process of growing, collecting and making food. Most of the food is donated to the Covenant Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry to assist with community needs.