Red & Blue On College Green
green campus image   
provost price

Welcome back to another wonderful year at Penn. It is a great pleasure, as we begin the semester, to see how widely sustainability has taken hold as one of our key values. In particular, it has become central to our expressions of the Penn Compact. Sustainability initiatives, including the invaluable projects of UC Green, are now indispensable to our commitments to local engagement and increasing access to Penn's educational resources. The pioneering work of the TC Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies, based in the School of Design, has expanded our global engagement, beginning from a partnership with Tsinghua University and growing to include collaborations and affiliate offices around the world. Its work has been joined more recently by that of the Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, based in the Wharton School, which focuses on sustainability in global business practices.


Above all, I am delighted to see the central role now played by sustainability in integrating knowledge, one of Penn's most distinctive academic strengths. The new undergraduate minor in Sustainability and Environmental Management illuminates sustainability across a wide range of areas, from environmental law to risk management to population biology. Climate Action Grants, awarded to students by the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, involve students in multidisciplinary, hands-on research projects, on such topics as nanocrystals, urban agriculture, and rising sea levels. The Green Campus Partnership has devoted admirable resources to faculty course development, including dynamic new seminars in the Benjamin Franklin Scholars program. Its Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum initiative, as the name suggests, supports faculty members who want to incorporate sustainability into new or existing courses. They can also now work directly with students, in an eight-week summer internship program, to build research and teaching materials for these courses.


I thank all of you for your energetic commitment to these initiatives, and I look forward to working together to further advance our sustainability goals in the years ahead.

 vp sign

Vincent Price
University of Pennsylvania

Fall 2012 Green Fund Applications Now Being Accepted
Move-In Starts Students Down a Sustainable Path
Greeks Going Green Certification Program
Eco-Reps Selected for 2012-2013
Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum
Billion Dollar Green Challenge
Century Bonds Will Help Realize Sustainability Goals
Save Now, Save Later
Power Down Challenge
Recycling Center at SEAS
Compost Tea: A Treat for Penn's Landscapes
Shoemaker Green
Spruce Street Plaza
Preservation Award Recognizes Weiss Pavilion
Alternative Fuels Power Penn Transportation
Penn Grows Assortment of Dining Options
Local, Seasonal, Organic at Harvest
Leading the Green: Brian D. Shaw
 Penn Green Campus Partnership Website
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Penn Green FundFall 2012 Green Fund Applications
Now Being Accepted

Many of the most innovative ideas supporting Penn's Climate Action Plan have come from the University's students, faculty and staff. Since Fall 2009, more than 40 initiatives have received seed money from the Penn Green Fund. An initiative of Penn's Green Campus Partnership and funded by the Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services, the Green Fund provides one-time grants to help pilot projects that will improve Penn's environmental performance and reduce campus emissions. The Fall 2012 application period is now open. The Green Fund page on the Green Campus Partnership website describes what is needed to be considered for one of the grants. The Green Fund Review Board will consider applications received by 5:00 pm on October 31, with awards to be announced in November.


Be sure to review the list of Green Fund Projects approved to date. The Review Board looks forward to receiving applications from the Penn community, especially in those areas not yet significantly impacted by sustainability efforts. Applicants are encouraged to e-mail well in advance of the deadline to arrange a time to discuss the proposed project and resolve any questions about the process.


move in cartsMove-In Starts Students Down
a Sustainable Path 

Each year, Penn welcomes over 6,000 students to their new homes on campus. Amid the welcome back embraces, tearful farewells, endless questions, and piles of suitcases there is also a lot of trash - or at least there used to be. For the past few years, the efforts of both Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS) and Penn students in the M.I. Green program have made sustainability a visible part of check in, unpacking, and waste removal. Learn more about RHS on the Penn Business Services website.


M.I. Green volunteers, sporting bright green T-shirts, were new students' likely first introduction to the University's Climate Action Plan initiatives. These junior and senior class volunteers helped students and parents dispose of boxes and wrappers during move in at designated recycling centers in their new College Houses, distributed eco-friendly compact fluorescent light bulbs, and shared knowledge about sustainable practices on campus. More than 900 incoming students took the opportunity to sign up with M.I. Green volunteers for the Green Campus Partnership e-newsletter, and 400 asked for a follow-up e-mail to learn about extracurricular environmental groups or sustainability-related courses at Penn. Read more about M.I. Green's achievements this year.


The RHS Move-In crew enhanced efforts to eliminate paper waste and increase recycling this year. Most noticeably, RHS used iPads at all locations, allowing for speedy, paper-free check-ins. RHS also eliminated an estimated 5,000 sheets of paper by combining parking and unloading passes and printing them on smaller pages, and eliminated the printing of 4,000 guest passes by using a new 2-in-1 guest pass.


"We want all our residents to reduce waste, and we're setting the example from Day One on campus," said Doug Berger, Executive Director of Business Services, who oversees Residential and Hospitality Services.


Penn Green Office ProgramGreeks Going Green Certification Program 

Greek chapter houses are invited to make a positive contribution to sustainability at Penn by participating in the recently launched Greeks Going Green program. The Penn Greek community already demonstrates leadership through its charitable efforts (and many members volunteer as Eco-Reps). This new program allows chapter members to also promote environmental awareness by committing to greener operations in their on-campus houses.


The Greeks Going Green rating system awards points for specific practices and behaviors to earn up to a Level Four Certification.The point value for each action is determined by the environmental impact, human health factors, difficulty of implementation, and cost. Houses achieving a Level Four certification will have put significant time, effort and financial investment into greening their chapter house, educating their members, and improving the overall environment at Penn.


Determine which actions are achievable for your chapter by taking a look at the Greeks Going Green Certification materials.


eco reps Sept2012Introducing 2012-2013 Eco-Reps 

Now starting its fourth year, Eco-Reps is Penn's environmental leadership program focused on raising awareness of sustainability efforts and improving behavior of individuals across campus. Comprised of leaders from a number of campus communities, the Eco-Reps take the lead on developing educational events, activities, and campaigns that support the Climate Action Plan.


This year, Athletics Eco-Reps have been added to the existing population of Eco-Reps from College Houses, Greek Chapters, Hillel, and Penn Staff & Faculty. The creation of this new group of Eco-Reps was initiated by student athletes interested in leading creative efforts in energy conservation, waste minimization, saving water, alternative transportation, consumer choices, and more.


While all Eco-Reps share the goal of supporting the University's Climate Action Plan, each community does so in ways distinct to its members. The possibilities for the Athletics Eco-Reps are wide open, as the program is in the early stages. "We're relying on the ingenuity of the students," says Penn's Environmental Sustainability Coordinator, Dan Garofalo. "Athletics programs necessarily consume a lot of materials - equipment, footwear, uniforms, even drink bottles - so reducing consumption may be an opportunity," he ventures. "In the end, all the Eco-Rep programs increase person-to-person communications about sustainability issues." Since Penn's athletic events draw a diverse crowd from the University, the Philadelphia region, and the neighborhood, there is great potential to reach many people who otherwise might not learn about our sustainability initiatives.


Summer Research Assistants Bring to Life Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum

The Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum (ISAC) program was launched this year to help develop new sustainability-themed or -focused courses at Penn. Following a one-day workshop on environmental themes, 11 self-selecting professors were matched with summer undergraduate research interns. Students and faculty spent eight weeks working together revising existing or developing new courses in a dynamic and interactive experience: researching material for the courses, developing new assignments, and compiling reading lists, among other tasks.


ISAC interns, supported by a Climate Action Plan Academics Subcommittee stipend, built camaraderie amongst themselves during field trips to the Morris Arboretum Horticultural Center and Revolution Recovery's recycling plant in Northeast Philadelphia. Meg Schneider (C'13) called the recycling tour "a worthwhile experience showing a win/win/win scenario that's often discussed theoretically in my environmental classes." As a second opportunity for group learning, the interns attended a half-dozen brown-bag lunches over the summer with senior Penn staff such as University Architect David Hollenberg and Penn Director of Real Estate Acquisitions Paul Sehnert, who shared career advice and job experiences.



Billion $ Challenge Penn Supports the Billion Dollar Green Challenge

The University of Pennsylvania is a Charter Institution of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, organized by the Sustainable Endowments Institute. With its established Green Fund program, Penn counts as one of the 42 institutions that have collectively committed $88 million to the Challenge. The Billion Dollar Green Challenge encourages colleges, universities, and other nonprofit institutions to invest a combined total of one billion dollars in self-managed revolving funds that finance energy efficiency improvements. Participating institutions will achieve reduction in operating expenses and greenhouse gas emissions, while creating regenerating funds for future projects.


Century Bonds Will Help Realize Sustainability Goals

Following approval in the Spring by Penn's Board of Trustees, the University has sold $300 million in Century Bonds that have an interest-only annual payment with a maturity date for payback of the bond principal of one hundred years. Proceeds from these bond sales will be used to support projects that combine deferred maintenance and energy efficiency.


Facilities and Real Estate Services will be managing many projects on campus that will improve building energy efficiency while addressing deferred maintenance.  The projects will include upgrading T12 lighting, which is imperative as these bulbs are no longer being manufactured, and the replacement of HVAC systems in some of the campus' largest and most complex laboratory buildings. 


Ken Ogawa, Penn Facilities and Real Estate Services Executive Director of Operations and Maintenance, expects increased energy savings in these complex, research-oriented buildings that, by their nature, consume a great deal. With advances in technology, Penn will benefit both through energy savings that will pay for the cost of the bond and improve comfort to building occupants.


control centerSave Now, Save Later by Cutting Peak Energy Usage

The principle of using everything in moderation can be wisely applied to Penn's thirst for electricity over the peak summer months (June through September). Using less energy, if done properly, can be both earth-friendly and cost-saving, now and in years ahead. The Penn community's efforts to keep down energy consumption this year while it was sweltering outside were again successful, with the University participating in programs to reduce peak demand on the electricity grid.  Actions taken by Facilities and Real Estate Services and the University community resulted in a peak reduction of nearly 9 megawatts (13%) during this period. 


"Penn is a large electricity customer," explains Ken Ogawa, Penn Facilities and Real Estate Services Executive Director of Operations and Maintenance, "so when we cut back on the air conditioning and the lights during peak times, our supplier, PECO, notices." The drop in demand from a large customer benefits the entire region, not just from a sustainability perspective (less kWh consumed = less greenhouse gas emissions), but also in that it mitigates the need to build costly electrical infrastructure which could cause increases to energy prices.


Learn more about energy usage on the FRES website.  A ticker on the right-hand side of the page provides real-time information about the wholesale power market. Members of the Penn Community can also access live electricity usage for the campus, and by building, over a 13-month period. 


switchoffPower Down Challenge: Raising Awareness of Energy Use

The Power Down Challenge is a three-week building energy reduction competition that raises awareness about daily conservation actions. Much like last Fall, the 2012 Power Down Challenge will set up two campus energy reduction competitions: the first among the College Houses and the second among an assortment of non-residential campus buildings. Building energy consumption will be measured each week during the competition and results communicated to occupants. The competition has expanded this year, with the number of participating non-residential buildings increasing to 10. Read more about the program and download promotional posters on the Green Campus Partnership website.


The Power Down Challenge will kick off on October 29, with the campus community "powering down" through November 18. Energy saving tips will be communicated through posters, social media, and tabling events. All will be encouraged to create new ways to conserve.


According to Dan Garafalo, Penn's Environmental Sustainability Coordinator, the Power Down Challenge is meant to be "a fun exercise in expanding awareness of day-to-day behaviors that have a considerable impact on our energy consumption. The hope is that three weeks of a friendly competition will instill behaviors that will continue long after this year's Challenge is over, perhaps building life-long conservation habits."

Recycling Center at SEAS Sees High Usage Soon After Launch

Awarded a Green Fund grant in Spring 2012, the Recycling Center in the School of Engineering and Applied Science is demonstrating high usage after only two months of operation. The conversion of a trash room between the Moore and Levine buildings into an organized recycling center has encouraged many in the Engineering Quad to minimize waste and recycle in an eco-conscious way.


Leandra Kern and Kilian Feeney led the SEAS Green Team in getting the recycling center off the ground. The existing trash room was cleaned, re-painted, provided with new lighting, and organized with clearly labeled sorting areas and bins. A flexible floor plan allows bins and disposal areas to be altered as the Recycling Center gets more use and the team responds to demand. As an example, Ms. Kern says that the box for electronics was filled in the first week that the Recycling Center was open. "We saw people bringing in old electronics like Palm Pilots that they had just held on to because they didn't want to throw them in the trash," she said. "They were really pleased that now there is somewhere to dispose of things properly."


The opening of the SEAS Recycling Center is also a great chance to educate about recycling practices in general. "People have come to us with a lot of good questions, and we've been able to teach them about proper disposal of compact fluorescent light bulbs, for example," says Ms. Kern. The SEAS Green Team expects overall recycling rates to rise. SEAS' current recycling rate is approximately 29% and their goal is to raise it to 45% by 2015. A final report to the Green Fund is expected in January.


compost Compost Tea: A Treat for Penn's Landscapes

In an effort to employ more organic solutions in the maintenance of Penn's campus landscapes, Facilities and Real Estate Services has begun treating the campus soil, grass, and plants with compost tea. Compost tea is all natural, made by soaking or steeping compost in a tank of water. The resulting "tea" is then applied to soil and vegetation, improving the microbial health of soils, making it more difficult for weeds to grow, and reducing the need for pesticides.


The compost used to make the tea comes from our campus food waste, compostable cardboard, napkins, and paper towels that are sent to the Wilmington Organic Recycling Center where they undergo an eight-week composting process and are returned to be used for the compost tea product. Each tank makes 250 gallons of tea which can cover one and a half acres; 15 to 20 tanks will provide enough tea for the entire campus. The first round of the compost tea application took place early this Summer, with twenty different green spaces across campus sprayed with the tea, followed by further rounds in the late Summer and into the Fall. 


shoemaker greenShoemaker Green - New Green Space is More Than Just a Pretty Place

Our most recent inviting campus green space had its official opening on September 20, as part of a continuation of Penn Connects 2.0, the latest plans for campus development. Located east of 33rd Street between the Palestra, Franklin Field, and the David Rittenhouse Labs, these 2.75 acres have been transformed into Shoemaker Green, a pleasant site for picnic lunches, informal study groups, pre- or post-game gatherings, or catching a few moments of outdoor time between classes or meetings.


Named for Emeritus Trustee and former Chair of the University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees, Alvin V. Shoemaker (W '60, Hon '95), this green is both beautiful and hard working. Due to the numerous sustainable elements in the design, Shoemaker Green was selected as a Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) pilot project for landscape design.


Shoemaker Green sustainable site management will minimize runoff, reduce the urban heat island effect by greening large paved areas, restore biomass on site, increase local biodiversity, and improve the overall environment for the community. In detail, some of these sustainable features are a central lawn of fescue, a drought-tolerant grass, an assortment of native plant species, more than 100 new or existing trees, a rain garden, porous pavers, benches made of recycled wood, and a 20,000-gallon underground cistern for storm water management and re-use.


Busy Intersection to Become Welcoming Campus Gateway

Spruce Street Plaza will create another newly redesigned open space, this time at the busy intersection bounded by 33rd, 34th and Spruce Streets. For years the site of surface parking and an assortment of food trucks, this underutilized parcel represented a great opportunity for Penn to improve the safety and attractiveness of this gateway to campus and the medical complex. After construction began in July, food vendors moved to the corner of 33rd and Spruce Streets in a fresh air food plaza, making room for the creation of a green space with a central lawn, large shade trees, benches, lighting, and seasonal plantings. As with all new Penn projects, environmental sustainability is built into the Plaza. Marc Cooper, Project Manager in Facilities and Real Estate Services, described the plaza walkway in terms of its green value: "The pavers are permeable so rain water will pass through the joints and reduce surface runoff."


A new mid-block crosswalk in front of the hospital will improve pedestrian safety between HUP, Penn Museum and the University City SEPTA station. Mark Kocent, Principal Planner in Facilities and Real Estate Services, explained that traffic circulation will be greatly improved with the new design. "The relocation of the food carts will improve traffic flow and a low fence on the southern part of the plaza will discourage jaywalkers," he explains, expecting these changes to be a great boon to pedestrian safety. Seasonal plantings will buffer traffic noise from adjacent streets, making a more pleasant experience for those who use the new green.


The transformed Spruce Street Plaza is scheduled to be completed in December of this year, with the crosswalk installation early next year.


Weiss PavilionPreservation Award Recognizes Weiss Pavilion

Preservation Pennsylvania has recognized the George A. Weiss Pavilion with a Construction Project Award for Public & Institutional Properties.


The initial design for the adaptive reuse of the historic Franklin Field, with the new space 'captured' from within the exterior arches, resulted in a very narrow and long floor plan. Searching through the University's architectural archives, it was discovered that adjacent streets were much lower when Franklin Field was built, and that an extra 25,000 square feet of space existed below the current ground floor of the stadium concourse. By excavating the adjacent landscape and incorporating this space, a total of 55,000 square feet was made available for the intercollegiate strength and conditioning center, a general fitness center, retail outlets, and Education Commons.


The Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards are presented annually by Preservation Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth's only statewide non-profit dedicated to preserving Pennsylvania's historic places. 


electric carsAlternative Fuels Power Penn Transportation

A collaboration between PhillyCarShare (PCS) and the Mayor's Office of Transportation has brought 20 new electric vehicle charging stations to the city. The installation of two charging stations at the Penn parking lot at 34th and Chestnut Sts. was financed by the Penn Green Fund, and the new Chevy Volts parked there will bring the number of car share vehicles on campus (including both PCS and Zip Car) to 14, with another 30 or so in the immediate vicinity. Penn students, faculty and staff can use these new vehicles by joining PhillyCarShare and taking advantage of discounts available to the Penn Community.


In a second initiative, Penn Transit is installing a liquid propane fueling station at Penn's South Bank campus (3401 Grays Ferry), providing an onsite fueling station for Penn's fleet of propane-powered shuttle vans. Propane costs about $1.00 less per gallon than gasoline, and vehicles using the fuel produce 30-90% less carbon monoxide and half the toxins and smog of gasoline-powered vehicles. More than 90% of locally available propane is domestically produced, making it more readily available than most other alternative fuels. Penn Transit plans to retro-fit more of its existing fleet to utilize propane fuel over the next five years to help reduce Penn's carbon footprint and reduce operating costs.


dining barPenn Grows Assortment of Dining Options Serving Local Foods

When you bite into a pineapple, you know it wasn't grown in Pennsylvania or New Jersey - but what about that spinach in your salad or the beef in your burger? If you care about eating food that is raised locally - and many do because local food is fresher, tastier, and usually better for the environment - then you should know that there are plenty of local food options right on campus:


  • Bon Appétit - Penn's food service provider is one of the industry leaders in sustainable food practices. This year, with the renovation of 1920 Commons, the Penn Community has even more choices, including fresh pizza at Pi and made-to-order dishes at Global Fusion.The weekly barbeque on the patio outside Joe's Café at Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall features local chicken, beef or pork hot off the grill. (View Joe's Café menu.)
  • Three New Cafes at Wharton - Penn now has three new cafes in Huntsman Hall. The Wharton Express features coffee and grab-and-go items. The Bridge Café, in the former Au Bon Pain location on Locust Walk, and the Plaza Café on the second floor offer regional foods including free-range poultry, pole-and-line caught albacore tuna, Lancaster County grain-fed beef, and locally grown vegetables. Try out the locally produced soda from New Hope Premium Fountain. All three cafes are operated by the Healthland Hospitality Group, based in Erdenheim, PA, which is dedicated to preparing food that is fresh, local and seasonal in a socially responsible manner.
  • Farmer's Market - Penn is fortunate to have a weekly campus farmer's market at the Penn Bookstore open every Wednesday from 9 am to 4 pm through the Fall, featuring fresh fruits, vegetables, chocolates, and baked goods.


harvest logoLocal, Seasonal, Organic Menu Promised at Harvest

Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar is now open at 40th and Walnut Streets, offering the Penn community and neighbors a new restaurant that describes its focus as seasonally changing, local, organic, and sustainable. The resulting variety in menu day-to-day, week-to-week, and season-to-season will offer diners fresh, seasonal and organic foods from local farms. Check out their menu and learn more about what's in store for Fall. 





brian shawBrian D. Shaw -- Director, Business Services

Brian Shaw oversees Penn Transit, Parking Services, Penn Mail Services and the Penn Ice Rink. He came to Penn in 2010 from Chicago where he worked as a Senior Planner for Sam Schwartz Engineering, a leading traffic and transportation planning and engineering firm. Previously he served as the Director of Campus Transportation and Parking Services at the University of Chicago and as Director of Alternative Transportation at Emory University in Atlanta. He is a specialist in the area of Sustainable Transportation, having created new programs at the University of Chicago and Emory that fostered car pooling, biking, walking and riding public transit to campus. Brian received his Masters of City Planning from Penn in 1995.