Arrowstreet invited Dennis Carlberg to speak to the firm about his efforts as the Director of Sustainability at Boston University. I was able to attend the discussion and I wanted to share the exciting things that are going on at this large university. As with any university or institutional campus, BU has a large environmental impact. BU understands it is important to reduce that footprint and in 2009 they created the Director of Sustainability position to do just that. Dennis Carlberg, the first to hold this position, jumped right into the role and has facilitated several programs over the last four years to create sustainable awareness and action on campus. Carlberg noted that one of the first things necessary to determine how to reduce the university’s footprint was to know exactly what their impact was. They assessed exactly how much energy, water, and waste that the university consumed and produced. Once that was determined then they could measure their success of the programs.
One program that the university established is Ten Sustainable Actions which challenges the campus community to address one action each month. Schools or organizations on campus can compete to outdo each other to meet the sustainable goal. Another BU program is greening of the campus food services. BU has four of the thirteen 4-star Certified Green Restaurants in the country. In addition to programs that look at campus operations the university has looked at planning and infrastructure programs. For existing buildings, the revolving loan fund allows buildings to make energy efficiency upgrades and payback the loan through the energy savings that are achieved with the upgraded systems. For newly constructed buildings BU utilizes the LEED certification system to assess the green design.
The BU programs are universal and can be applied to any university, institution or corporate campus. I look at these programs and think what can be learned from them that I can bring to Arrowstreet and the architecture that we design. We can understand how the layout and size of spaces has impacted the ability to implement these programs. For example making sure there are spaces to facilitate recycling programs or multi-function spaces for collaborative environments. We can also study the way individual buildings work with a large campus network and what it is that makes certain buildings perform better.
To learn more about BU’s efforts, visit http://www.bu.edu/sustainability/.