Andover Green initiatives Continue

Andover is looking for new ways to sustain its decrease in energy consumption following the end of this year’s Green Cup Challenge (GCC). Patricia Russell, Sustainability Coordinator and Head of the Department of Natural Sciences, hopes that in future years, Andover will make data on electric, fuel and water consumption available online. “I think as soon as we get data online, we could do inter-cluster competitions. Students would have a much better understanding of how they are doing, and a dorm could track their water use from September till the end of the year to see how much they have improved,” Russell said. “The community tends to respond to positive reinforcement and friendly competition. This tracking system would be expensive and take time, so it is a long term goal,” she added. Russell is also working with other members of the Eight Schools Association to establish a competition similar to the Green Cup Challenge that would begin in October, called Green Cup 2.0. Russell decided not to display the energy expenditure in Gelb due to budget cuts in the Office of the Physical Plant (OPP). Due to the system malfunctions in 2008, Russell is currently “work on a web-based system for our electricity data so that it would be available on anyone’s Internet connected computer.” “Getting that system up and running has taken longer than we had expected at first, but is still in the works,” said Russell. OPP has taken measures to better control electricity usage on campus. OPP computers can control Gelb Science Center’s hood and thermostat. Sascha Strand ’10 is currently researching the possibility of establishing composting sites on campus rather than at a processing plant. According to Strand, the school composted waste before discovering that the site lay adjacent to wetlands less than 15 years ago. Strand hopes his research will promote interest returning to campus composting and save the school money and energy. Eco-Action and ERAC, on-campus organizations devoted to environmental awareness, are also working to create ways students can reduce waste and to promote student interest in energy consumption. Blake said, “Interest in the Green Cup Challenge was low. We need to work on better advertising to keep energy use down. It is difficult to communicate your cause to students who have so much going on.” Eco-Action worked with Agatha Kip, School Nutritionist, and Paresky Commons staff to decrease meals with meat while still providing sufficient protein. The club also organized a film festival that showed weekly films and documentaries about the environment. Eco-Action plans to create a blueberry garden this spring and distribute the fruit in Paresky Commons to promote sustainability. The club has also invited Annie Leonard, a sustainability activist and filmmaker, to speak at All-School Meeting this spring. According to Russell, dining, science and art buildings have building codes for electricity exhausting ventilation systems. Russell said renovating other buildings to include these features would decrease energy use. Russell said a goal of the Paresky Commons renovation process was to upgrade its electrical and ventilation systems. “For state of the art buildings, both Gelb and [Paresky] Commons are very environmentally responsible, but they still use more energy than their predecessors,” Russell said. According to Russell, air conditioning is a controversial topic for faculty. “Some faculty members feel we should not spend the money or energy to add it to buildings. Others think it is necessary to work and learn, especially during Summer Session,” she said. Faiyad Ahmad ’10, School President, and Billy Fowkes ’10, Vice President, have created a subcommittee of Student Council that aims to reduce waste. The committee has worked with Cluster Council to inform dorm representatives of ways to reduce dorm energy and has helped to put signs in Paresky Commons to reduce ort during the GCC.