In the Media

IBM Awards a $100,000 Grant to the Vermont State College System

July 20, 2011

BURLINGTON, VT, July 20, 2011 - IBM has awarded the Vermont State Colleges (VSC) system a $100,000 grant for an energy efficiency initiative to help Howard Center and Vermont Technical College (VTC) reduce their energy use by at least 5 percent annually. Based on energy management strategies developed at IBM Burlington, the initiative will benefit from the input and partnership of VTC students, faculty and staff, Howard Center staff, the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center and IBM volunteers.

The grant is one of eleven IBM Centennial Grants awarded by IBM to projects around the world - one of only two in the U.S. - in recognition of the company's 100th anniversary. The IBM Centennial Grants are both monetary and in-kind awards up to $100,000 each and fund innovative projects in areas such as healthcare, energy, and food safety, helping to build a smarter planet.

For the past ten years, the IBM Vermont manufacturing facility has used its Smart Energy Management Program and its own smart grid to reduce energy use 20 percent while increasing manufacturing capability. IBM is collaborating with the Vermont State College system, and the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC), to apply its energy management program to improve energy efficiency by at least five percent for VTC and Howard Center, the largest mental health and human services organization in V ermont.

"We are extremely pleased and excited to be partnering with IBM on this outstanding energy savings program," said VTC President Dr. Philip Conroy. "Vermont Tech has a longstanding commitment to providing the type of sustainable practice education and training that IBM has developed here in Vermont, and our VMEC team is ideally positioned to provide the organizational leadership we'll need to be successful."

According to Todd Centybear, Executive Director, "Howard Center is committed to this project because when we achieve our goals of a 5 percent reduction in energy use as well as significant monetary savings, we will have more money for programs and will have reduced our carbon footprint as a large agency. We are grateful to IBM for their leadership in this effort, which has the potential to benefit individuals and organizations well beyond Howard Center."

In 2009, Vermont launched an initiative to become the first "smart grid" state and boost energy efficiency and reliability while creating jobs. IBM believes the techniques learned and applied through the collaboration can help increase energy saving opportunities when Vermont completes its smart grid.

"This IBM Centennial Grant is the result of the strong partnership among all the parties that will enable us to drive energy savings for the Howard Center and VTC, and also will provide economic and environmental benefits to other organizations throughout Vermont," said Janette Bombardier, senior location executive for IBM in Vermont. "We value the opportunity to develop a sustainable energy management blueprint that will help the state take advantage of the benefits of the smart grid."

The grant will fund energy efficiency and management education and training, the purchase of smart meters and funding for energy efficiency projects.

VMEC plans to provide support and training in continuous improvement and problem solving techniques, and innovation engineering principles and tools that underpin an effective energy management program. Skills developed through this partnership with IBM will enhance VMEC's outreach to Vermont manufacturers and other organizations. VTC will integrate elements of the energy management program into its curriculum through the Center for Sustainable Practices.

The grant will enable the purchase of portable smart meters for the project and will fund new energy efficiency projects for Howard Center and VTC. In addition, the project is being supported with data and resources from the Burlington Electric Department, Efficiency Vermont, Vermont Gas Systems, Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service.

IBM, Howard Center and Vermont Technical College announced the energy efficiency collaboration and kicked off a brainstorming process at Howard Center on June 15. The event was part of IBM's Celebration of Service Day, a program designed for IBM employees to donate their time and expertise in recognition of the company's 100th anniversary. More than 100 IBM Vermont volunteers are participating in the energy efficiency project.

About Howard Center: Howard Center is a non-profit organization that provides services to children with serious emotional and behavioral challenges, adults who need mental health and substance abuse treatment, and children and adults with developmental disabilities. Last year, Howard Center served over 15,000 individuals and families at more than 50 agency sites throughout Chittenden County and beyond.

About IBM: For more information about IBM's Centennial, please visit

About the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center: The Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center's (VMEC) mission is to improve manufacturing in Vermont and strengthen the global competitiveness of the state's smaller manufacturers. This is done through consulting, coaching, hands-on implementation assistance and training.

About Vermont Technical College: Vermont Technical College is the only public institution of higher learning in Vermont whose mission is applied education. One of the five Vermont State Colleges, Vermont Tech serves students from throughout Vermont, New England and beyond at its two primary campuses in Williston and Randolph Center, and at eleven nursing campuses located throughout the state. Our academic programs encompass a wide range of engineering, agricultural, health, and business fields that are vital to understanding and applying the cross-disciplinary solutions required to achieve energy independence and sustainability. For more information about Vermont Technical College, visit:

Media Contacts:

Howard Center
Gail Rosenberg 802-488-6912

Jeff Couture 802-769-2483

Vermont Technical College
Ben Merrill 802-728-1329

Vermont State Colleges
Dan Smith 802-241-3379

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