Monday, November 30, 2009

And the Winner Is . . . Shaw!

Shaw Victorious in Energy Competition  

The residents of Shaw took first place in the "Reduce Your Juice" energy-use reduction competition this year.  To achieve this great honor, Shaw-onians performed simple but significant environmental feats such as turning off unused lights, unplugging power cords, and setting power saving modes on their computers.  For their efforts, residents will receive a celebratory dinner - in addition to eternal fame, of course.  

Holmes and Ames, which made significant reductions in the final week, tied for a close second place.  

All of the dorms reduced their energy use by 1-5% over the course of the 4-week-long competition.  This might seem like small potatoes, but if the savings from the one month electricity competition were to be extended throughout the entire year, this would amount to around 1 MTCDE (metric tons carbon dioxide equivalents), which is roughly 100 gallons of gasoline.    

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Above the Lawn

Harvard Business School Showcases Its New Green Roof

It's alive!  The roof, that is.  Over the summer the Harvard Business School installed a new Green roof on top of Shad Hall (also known as the building across from the football stadium).  The roof is part of a University-wide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2016 from 2006 levels.  

Apex Green Roofs was hired to roll out the Roofscape, and the Business School is now the proud new owner of the University's first Green roof.  The groundcover is already two inches high, and with miles of fall-colored treetops and church steeples in the background makes for an impressive vista.  The Business School currently has no plans to open the roof up for visitors, but tours are available upon request.     

Green roofs are sprouting up across the country, bringing with them attractive scenery, environmental benefits, and no end of gardening puns.  With a pricetag of around $15 per sq ft (although costs are much less in countries where Green roofing companies have gotten off the ground), why the recent surge in Green roofs?

(1) Green roofs are excellent insulators.  This reduces CO2 emissions of buildings, as well as heating and cooling costs.   
(2) Green roofs soak up rainwater and filter pollutants.  The HBS Green roof is expected to decrease stormwater runoff by as much as 80%.
(3) Green roofs extend the lifetime of a roof by protecting it from harsh weather and extreme temperatures.  

Since Green roofs have been popular in Germany for over 50 years, maybe a better question is why have they taken so long to catch on in the US?  

Should the law school invest in its own Green roof?  Are the benefits worth the costs?  If so, should a Green roof on campus be open to students?   

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Food, Inc.

Food, Inc. Film Screening
Thursday November 5
Hauser 102

Food Inc. is an award winning 2009 documentary about the social and environmental impacts of our nation’s food industry.

This Thursday, over 25 screenings of Food Inc. will be taking place across the country.  The Law School’s 7:15pm screening in Hauser 102 will be followed by a 9pm EDT video teleconference discussion with Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield Farms CEO, featured in Food Inc., and Josh Trought, New Hampshire organic farmer and director of the educational farm D Acres.  

Snacks provided!

Sponsored by the HLS Green Living Program.

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA . . . Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield Farms' Gary Hirschberg and Polyface Farms' Joe Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising -- and often shocking truths -- about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Energy Competition Heats Up

Holmes takes the lead in dorm-wide conservation competition!  

The dorm that reduces its energy consumption the most in coming weeks will win a free dinner, environmental bragging rights, and of course, eternal glory.  So remember to Reduce Your Juice!  

This week's tip:
Shut down machines at night and enable automatic computer power management.  

Tip from last week:  switch off lights, and be sure to take the sustainability pledge! 

Get in on the (individual) action!

Come hear Prof. Vandenbergh speak about Climate Change tomorrow

Visiting Professor Mike Vandenbergh presents recent work on voluntary individual climate action.

"THE BEHAVIORAL WEDGE: The Potential for Household Actions to Rapidly Reduce U.S. Carbon Emissions." 

Tomorrow (Nov. 3), 12 PM, Pound 201