Fuess Renovated to Improve Sustainability

As Andover looks towards a more energy-efficient future, a $50,000 green renovation project in Fuess House serves as the pilot for a potential $7 million dollar initiative that could further reduce Andover’s carbon footprint.

Trish Russell, Sustainability Coordinator, said the Sustainability Steering Committee’s goal is to renovate every dormitory for energy efficiency.

“Everyone on the Sustainability Steering Committee is very excited about the prospect of renovating all of the dorms, but there is a $7 million dollar hurdle, and we have no idea how to pay for that upfront or how to start to build it into an annual budget that is already pretty taxed on facilities renewal,” said Russell.

“There would be a significant reduction [in greenhouse gas emissions]; I would say probably on the order of a 30 percent greenhouse gas emission reduction over our 2005 levels… That is comparable to what Yale and Harvard are doing,” said Russell.

The Fuess Renovation has been divided into two phases. Funding was provided by the Dean of Students office from a account that assesses needs and releases funds at the discretion of Paul Murphy, Dean of Students, said Murphy.

The first phase of the renovation was completed over Winter Break and included the installation of new energy efficient LED lighting and occupancy sensors to reduce energy usage, said Larry Muench, Director of Facilities.

The second phase, which will take place over Spring Break, will consist of protecting exterior doors and windows from wind, sunlight and precipitation to reduce energy consumption, as well as the installation of low-flow plumbing fixtures and the insulation of various steam and hot water components, according to Muench.

Fuess House electricity, water and steam usage will be monitored following the implementation of both phases to determine the effectiveness of these sustainability measures, said Muench.

“Later this year, upon completion of the project, the success of the [Fuess] pilot will be assessed. We anticipate that this program will serve as a model for future dormitory energy efficiency projects, providing a standard to both the Academy and GreenerU [a green-construction consulting firm] to implement efficiency enhancements across similar dormitories,” said Stefan Csigay, Capital Project Manager at the Office of Physical Plant (OPP).

Russell said the Fuess renovations have already been successful.

“You can already see, using Gunga Data [an online system that tracks campus energy usage], the difference between how much energy was being used in Fuess House before December and how much energy is being used now in Fuess House. There have already been significant savings in electricity,” said Russell.

“Fuess House was selected for this pilot program for several reasons, most importantly [because] Fuess House is comparable to the other Rabbit Pond dorms in design and usage. [Therefore we are] able to evaluate the impact of the modifications against a baseline dorm,” said Csigay.

“Rabbit Pond” refers to the five dorms of similar architectural design built during the 1950s and ’60s. The dorms built in this style are Fuess House, Nathan Hale House, Stevens House, Stearns House and Stimson House.

Last year, the Sustainability Steering Committee hired GreenerU, a firm that consults with schools on campus sustainability to assist the administration, students and staff with energy efficiency measures and sustainability goals for the campus, said Russell.

“GreenerU brought in a team of engineers, who surveyed a big sampling of our buildings. They then wrote a large report summarizing what they saw as an opportunity for what we could do on the entire campus to reduce our resource consumption, our greenhouse gas emission and improve our buildings,” said Russell.

The Andover Fuess House Energy Report was commissioned for the first time in April 2012 to record energy usage data in Fuess.

“[Fuess] has a group of house counselors who have been active in sustainability efforts within the dorm to begin with,” said Russell.

“I think given the reaction to the new installations in the dorm and the results I have seen, at least in Gunga Data, the installations in Fuess House should be applied to all dorms,” said Greg Young ’13, Environmental Proctor (E-Proctor) in Fuess.

“I think the next question is [whether] the school [will] look at building standards that include statements saying that we expect every building to meet this energy efficiency standard. Right now, we are not working on a standard,” said Russell.

Fuess was used in the past to test out another “go-green” initiative when it was one of the first dorms to implement E-Proctors last year, according to Mark Cutler, Fuess House Counselor.

The Sustainability Steering Committee includes Stephen Carter, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Elizabeth Davis, Senior Capital Project Manager, Muench, John Rogers, Dean of Studies, and Russell.