Green Living had an exciting Fall Semester including a number of activities focused on making HBS students more aware of the sustainability efforts around campus. As students prepare for a fresh start with the Spring Semester, Green Living reps prepare for new campaigns and student outreach.
One of the most visible green activities this fall was the HBS Dorm Energy Competition and SFP/OWA Energy Challenge which came to a close in early December. At the close of the dorms competition, McCulloch Hall clinched the winning title and took the overall competition with a combined score of 92% based on energy savings and Sustainability Pledge participation.
Beginning on November 6th the HBS dorms were challenged to reduce their energy use by 10% and compete for the winning title. SFP/OWA was challenged to reduce use by 10% and was incented based on reaching the target. Reduction in electricity use was measured against an average meter reading for a selected time period prior to competition start. In addition, residents at all locations were asked to sign the Harvard Sustainability Pledge, allowing students to note where they already make efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and encouraging them to start at least three new habits to add to their savings. For every pledge signed, $1.50 will be made available to support a renewable energy project at the University.
The Dorm Energy Competition ratings weighted energy savings at 75% and pledges signed at 25%.
Results of the HBS Dorm Energy Competition
McCulloch (92%) won the Dorm Energy Competition driven by the highest reduction in energy use at 4.2% and Pledge participation of 52% of the dorm. Chase followed in second with the strongest pledge participation rate of 63% (1.5% energy reduction). Hamilton followed with reduction and pledge participation of 1.8% and 29% respectively. While a third of Morris residents signed the Sustainability Pledge, electricity use actually increased over the measured time period.
Results of the SFP/OWA Energy Challenge
The residents of SFP/OWA both expended more electricity overall than their respective baselines and pledge participation was about a fifth of each residence site. However, in addition to the challenge, several residents at SFP/OWA participated in “CFL swaps”-swapping out their old incandescent light bulbs for Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs. CFLs are extremely energy efficient and have a longer life than normal bulbs. The electricity drawn from CFLs is more directly used for lighting compared to normal bulbs that lose most of their energy as heat, therefore making them safer for use and wasting less electricity in the process. (Contact your Green Living Representative if you would like one!)
Pledges Signed Betters Last Year
Last year, 7,000 students, staff, faculty, and alumni across Harvard University signed the Sustainability Pledge to promote green awareness. This year the Harvard community signed 8,300 pledges.
A Semester in Review
The fall semester of Green Living comes to a close with memories and an exciting outlook for the spring. Beyond the Energy Competition, Green Living sponsored eco-friendly mid-term study breaks and a viewing of “An Inconvenient Truth.” Student Reps and staff conducted audits of recycling efforts on campus and analyzed relative levels of dorm recycling in comparison to previous years. Most importantly, Green Living student Reps had the opportunity to connect with students on ways to reduce our impact on the planet as individuals and as a school.
The Outlook for Spring
Green Living is ready to kick off the Spring Semester with a full roster of campaigns and activities. The main focus will be on the reduction of resource use ranging from paper and junk mail to disposable containers and food choices. In March, Green Living will be particularly active during the Business and Environment Club’s annual “Green Week.” Be on the look out for Green Living events.