Green Living: Hamilton is Green

On the far corner of campus overlooking the Charles River sits Hamilton Hall-one of the most talked about residences among both returning and new students this year. This is no surprise since it is newly renovated and offers dorm rooms that are far more spacious than other residence hall offerings. One returning EC described it as having the ‘best of both worlds’ in combining the conveniences of dorm living with the space of apartment living. While these merits are obvious, not many students know that Hamilton Hall is also the most recent addition to the HBS Operations Department’s growing list of sustainability projects to reduce HBS’ impact on the environment.

Hamilton Hall’s recent renovations covered 48,194 gross square feet which comprises 72 private bedrooms with private bathrooms, shared kitchen and lounge areas, conference rooms and a laundry room. These were all executed with the goal of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification. LEED is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. In particular, Hamilton Hall has a number of sustainable and environmentally-friendly features:

Heating & Cooling:
Each room is equipped with a fan coil unit and a local thermostat that allows for individual control of the heating and cooling. An exciting energy-saving feature is that occupancy sensors can detect when the room is unoccupied and set the temperature back.

High efficiency lighting has been installed throughout the building. There are occupancy sensors installed in all kitchens, lounges, conference rooms and common space bathrooms. The hallway lights are on a nighttime setback with a manual override button. The fourth floor and stairwells have a dimmable day light harvesting system-this adjusts indoor lighting based on the available natural light.

Hamilton Hall achieved a 30% reduction in water usage vs. building code. This was accomplished through measures such as the dual flush toilet (1.1 gallons (4.16 liters) per flush if the handle is pushed up and 1.6 gallons (6 liters) per flush if the handle is pushed down), and “low flow” shower heads and sinks.

Laminated bamboo, a rapidly renewable resource, was used to construct the bookshelves, desks and dressers. In addition, to protect indoor air quality, low-emission products were chosen for the carpet, interior paint, composite woods, and the majority of adhesives and sealants.

Its impressive list of features makes Hamilton Hall meet one of over 20 different conservation measures, ranging from cogeneration to photovoltaic panels to a state-of-the-art irrigation system, which HBS has undertaken since 2000. And there is a list of current and future projects that is just as long. So, what is next on the list of sustainability projects for the Operations Team? “We’re aiming for the current Sherman/Wyss Hall renovation to get LEED Silver Certification. Operations is also striving to certify Aldrich and will continue to reference LEED guidelines on future major renovation projects,” shares Meghan Duggan, Manager of Energy and Sustainable Services.

Like all conservation and sustainable efforts, student behaviors are a key part of reducing the campus’ impact on the environment. While Hamilton Hall has several sustainable features, actions of the residents will also greatly affect the building’s environmental impact. In particular, students can take actions that prevent the waste of resources, including:
 turning off lights, computers and other electronics when not needed
 recycling all paper and containers
 reducing waste by choosing products that have a long lifespan or are reusable (reusable mugs, cups, plates, etc. strongly encouraged)

Learn more
Sustainability at Harvard:

Note: HBS Operations graciously supplied the Green Living staff with information on the features of Hamilton Hall.

September 18, 2006
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