|A NOTE ON COLLEGE GREEN|
Greening by Design
The theme of this newsletter issue, Greening by Design, illustrates how our collective aspirations around sustainability have steadily grown since President Gutmann signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment in 2007. Sustainability now pervades all the work we do to manage and enhance the physical character of our campus. But it is also true that much of that effort and success draws upon Penn's fertile institutional DNA - a campus history that has repeatedly been enriched by University leadership that has inspired architects and designers to realize their commitment to making a beautiful, verdant and long-lasting urban University campus.
So Greening by Design is not new behavior at Penn. What is perhaps new is the degree of student passion for and knowledge about the environment, and their articulate insistence that the design and maintenance of the places in which they study, learn, live and play reflect that passion and knowledge.
My first thought in considering Greening by Design is a literal one - how the ways in which we imagine and construct Penn's buildings and green spaces make the campus look and function. This is the actual work of the collaboration between Penn as a design client and the talented architects, planners, landscape architects and engineers who have created our campus since Penn's move to West Philadelphia in 1870. Penn has never built for the short term - we have always designed buildings meant to last for decades. This practice is inherently sustainable, and has repeatedly proven its worth in buildings that through being repeatedly repurposed have proven their solidity and flexibility. This demonstrates deeply green behavior, well before such behavior had a name. More recently, we have explicitly been designing our buildings for enhanced energy performance through a variety of practices, including what is now our policy to pursue LEED Silver certification for all new buildings. (Happily, I can note that we have consistently met that goal, and more often exceeded it, receiving LEED Silver for the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, LEED Gold for the Weiss Pavilion, the Music Building, and Joe's Café in Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall, and LEED Platinum for the Morris Arboretum Horticulture Center.)
A second interpretation of the phrase Greening by Design draws me to consider the rich vein of stewardship that is inherent in Penn's long-standing practice of targeted and appropriate maintenance through which we extend the useful life of our existing building stock. When that relentless challenge is met successfully, it is essentially invisible - much less apparent and celebrated by our community than the glittering new buildings and landscapes we create. But, visible or not, proper maintenance ensures that our buildings are taken care of for decades to come, building on our culture of stewardship. The new Century Bond program takes that culture to a level that is unparalleled in Penn's history - raising hundreds of millions of dollars for projects that will combine deferred maintenance and energy-saving opportunities. Such maintenance and operations efforts ensure that our buildings are given the extended life that they and we deserve, and in fact when done well can be the greenest practice we have at Penn.
Yet another consideration. Thinking about Greening by Design, especially at Penn, leads one to think about beauty, a topic that does not come up as often as it might when discussing sustainability. But buildings that people care about are far more likely to have a long-term constituency, which in turn contributes to their repeated reuse and transformation. So we should, by design, create the serious architecture and landscapes that people will care about. When a building serves multiple purposes over its lifetime, it is often its beauty and solidity that has attracted the appreciative constituency that desires to respectfully reuse and maintain it. Hayden Hall is a perfect example. Constructed in 1896, it was the University's first Dental School. Repurposed for Fine Arts and then for Geology, it now serves Penn Engineering and Earth & Environmental Science, its beauty and dignity ensuring that each transformation has been done with care and respect. Similarly, the recent renovation of the Music Building has revealed a beautiful building that has gone through multiple uses in its 100+ year history. Buildings and landscapes that our community cares about get repurposed rather than removed, and exemplify the connection between design excellence and our institutional culture of sustainability.
Finally, in thinking about green design, I cannot overlook Penn's open spaces. Our campus has rightfully been called an urban forest. Its wonderful network of green space builds on the skeleton of former Philadelphia streets that have been transformed into our trademark majestic pedestrian circulation paths, gathering spaces, and building settings. It may be less apparent that these cohesive and often spectacular spaces also serve as workhorses for our sustainability efforts - they house a surprising diversity of animals, help to manage storm water, and of course, provide the dappled light and shade so characteristic of our campus.
It is fitting that this newsletter is named, in part, for College Green - our beautiful central grassy gathering space. College Green itself is the legacy of a distinguished cadre of visionary landscape architects associated with Penn Design - all of whom went on to well-deserved national and international reputations. Too many of them have passed on, but many others remain, and still teach landscape design on our Penn Design faculty. In making College Green, they too built on Penn's rich vein of sustainable practices, but dramatically enriched it, taking the discipline of landscape architecture and planning design to another level. I always enjoy hearing campus tour guides refer to this core of our campus as our "historic green." It is a sure sign of its design success that so many see College Green as in some way and somehow having been here forever. But think of College Green as a made place, building on a long-standing institutional tradition of sustainability, and you will know much of what you need to know about Greening by Design.
University of Pennsylvania
| Four Projects Earn Green Fund Support |Four more sustainable projects will have a genesis on Penn's campus, thanks to the University's Green Fund. These newly green-lighted projects include food waste composting at the Penn Museum and the development of a formal monitoring system of Shoemaker Green's environmental benefits. Read details on each project on the Green Campus Partnership website. The University has now provided the seed money for 45 green ideas to get off the ground, including these four additions:
- From Table to Farm
The Penn Museum will begin composting food waste from its cafes.
Project Leader: Brian McDevitt, Director of Building Operations, Penn Museum
Project Sponsor: Melissa Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Penn Museum
- Civic House Passive House
The team will investigate what it would take to bring Civic House to the "Passive House" standard - an energy-efficient building design concept.
Project Leader and Project Sponsor: David Grossman, Director, Civic House and Civic Scholars Program
- The Effectiveness of Stormwater BMPs and LID at Shoemaker Green
Set up a plan to monitor and measure the ecological, social and economic benefits of these green infrastructure facilities.
Project Leaders: Craig Calabria, PhD, PE (Penn Faculty), Emily McCoy RLA, MLA (Andropogon Associates), Pablo Garza and Grant Scavello (Penn Students), Bob Flowers (Penn Facilities and Real Estate Services)
Project Sponsor: Craig Calabria, Associate Director, Master of Science in Applied Geosciences Program and Fred Scatena, PhD, Professor and Department Chair, Earth and Environmental Science
- Lenape Botanical Garden
The garden will be an educational and awareness-raising tool regarding the Lenape Nation, their methods of living off the land, and understanding the plants that were part of their diet and their medicine.
Project Leader: Valerie De Cruz, Director, Greenfield Intercultural Center
Project Sponsors: Robert Lundgren, University Landscape Architect, and Wendy Grube, PhD, CRNP
"Projects made possible through the Green Fund benefit not only the University, but also the students, faculty, staff, and community members who call the Penn campus their home," says Anne Papageorge, Vice President of Facilities and Real Estate Services (FRES), which finances the program. "We support the sustainability ideas that come to us from the ground up, which often offers a clear view of what can be and should be done to green our campus." ... READ MORE
| Century Bond Projects Move Forward
Some of the most sustainable construction work on campus doesn't always have the highest profile. Oftentimes doing significant maintenance and upgrades to existing buildings can produce a "greener" outcome than demolition and starting from scratch. Cases in point are the 40-plus buildings being studied for energy efficiency upgrade work funded by the University's Century Bond program. Thirty-two buildings have been identified for lighting upgrades and 17 have been selected for potential heating-ventilation-air-conditioning (HVAC) overhauls. It is anticipated that the HVAC study will identify five to seven buildings in which those overhauls will have the most impact, and those projects will be implemented using Century Bond funds.
Sustainability will be realized in the outcomes: Following upgrades, some buildings may see as much as a 60% decrease in energy use, saving on utility costs and shrinking the University's carbon footprint. In addition to reducing energy usage, these newer systems will greatly reduce the operations and maintenance costs associated with the older systems, and will provide greater comfort and control for the occupants of the buildings. Many of the green benefits won't be seen on the surface as they would be with, for example, a green roof or solar panels. "While replacing light fixtures and HVAC systems are not highly visible, they are projects that have a significant impact on the University and on those who use the buildings," says John Zurn, Director of the Century Bond Program in Facilities & Real Estate Services.
Timelines for these projects are moving along well, according to project managers. The Century Bond program was approved by the administration in March 2012, after which the University sold $300 million worth of bonds. As of December, feasibility studies for potential lighting and HVAC projects are underway. These studies are scheduled to be completed in the end of February 2013.
At present, and while these studies are being done, eight lighting projects are currently in the design phase and the first major HVAC project, a complete upgrade to the Chemistry 1973 building, is also well into design. Read more about the Century Bond program in the October 2012 issue of On College Green.
|30x30 Challenge - A Daily Dose of Nature|
With sweltering summer days thankfully gone, and winter's chill not yet arrived, October on Penn's campus provided some of the best outdoor days all year. To encourage Penn staff members to step out of the office and enjoy nature in the nice fall weather, Staff Eco-Reps organized a 30x30 Challenge. The idea was to spend 30 minutes outside every day for 30 days. The goals were broad: to increase participants' level of physical activity by getting away from their desks, to improve feelings of well-being by spending some time outdoors, to spend some time with a coworker or two that did not involve a business meeting, and to encourage people to break some habits and try something new.
"While many of us have become very good in understanding sustainability, too often we get caught up in recycling paper and turning off lights, and forget that part of respecting the environment is appreciating it - feeling the sunshine, looking at the trees, maybe taking our exercise outdoors," explained Andrea Kreiner, sustainability consultant for Penn's Green Campus Partnership, as the inspiration for this activity.
More than 90 Penn employees participated in the 30x30 Challenge, with many people taking daily walks during the work day or finding pleasant green spaces outside to eat lunch. One participant greatly enjoyed the Challenge, commenting that during lunch time, "I had gotten into the habit of just sitting at my desk. Now I go for a walk, go outside and read, or just breathe some fresh air for an hour!"
| Penn Launches Green Labs Program|
The movement toward sustainability on campus reaches beyond the students, faculty and staff who spend most of their time in classrooms and offices. The numerous labs on campus provide a prime opportunity to reduce our environmental impact and help us reach the goals set forth in Penn's Climate Action Plan. The Green Campus Partnership has created a Guide to provide overall guidelines for lab "greening" - from small undergraduate teaching labs to large medical research facilities. The Green Labs program has identified five areas - Energy Conservation, Water Conservation, Waste Reduction, Purchasing, and Green Office - where practices and procedures in laboratory settings can affect our impact on the environment. Creators of the Green Labs @ Penn Guide consider this a first edition document that will continue to evolve through collaboration with representatives from the various schools and centers.
The Green Labs @ Penn Guide begins with general guidelines and suggestions for getting started, and provides a summary checklist that includes all actions listed in the Guide, to help lab users choose the appropriate actions for their lab. "With the great variety of labs we have on campus, we realize that some will be able to complete more actions than others," explains Sarah Fisher, Penn Environmental Sustainability Associate. "You should aim to complete the actions that are possible for your lab based on the resources available and the manner in which your lab operates."
Labs that commit to actions on the checklist will receive a Commitment Sticker meant to be prominently displayed in the lab. "We think this level of visibility can improve peer influence for behavior change, encouraging your neighbor labs to participate as well," adds Fisher. She notes this program does not offer a "certification," but rather gives lab teams recognition for doing their work in a manner that supports the overall goals of the University.
Download the Green Labs @ Penn Guide on the Green Labs website page. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line 'Green Labs' with questions, suggestions, or if you need help getting started.
| Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum (ISAC) 2013 Application Information|
Penn will continue its Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum program in 2013 to help Penn faculty introduce environmental sustainability concepts and theories into existing and new courses. In the late Spring, faculty participants will explore sustainability concepts at a one-day workshop, and then will be partnered with an undergraduate student research assistant to work over the summer integrating sustainability into the course lectures, assignments, reading material, and tests. Ten professors and six students participated in the ISAC 2012 program.
For Faculty: The application period for faculty opened December 1st with proposals due January 31, 2013. Application information can be found on the Green Campus Partnership website.
For Students: Students who wish to be ISAC summer research assistants will be able to apply to the program in February 2013. Information about applying to be an ISAC 2013 summer research assistant will be available on the Green Campus Partnership website in February.
| Sustainability-Related Courses Cataloged|In addition to the ten courses offered this academic year which are the direct results of Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum collaboration between professors and student research assistants, many more are considered "sustainability-focused" or "sustainability-related." Descriptions of these courses may be found in the Sustainability Course Inventory 2012-2013, compiled by Penn's Green Campus Partnership Sustainability Team. Download a copy from the Green Campus Partnership website.
|Power Down Challenge Champions |In a contest where one must save to win, Stouffer College House and the Jaffe History of Art Building totaled out as 2012 champions of the University's three-week Power Down Challenge energy reduction competition. This friendly competition, which ran from October 31 through November 18, motivated all of Penn's College Houses and 11 of its Campus Buildings to find effective and creative ways to save electricity. In addition to raising awareness during the competition, the Power Down Challenge aims to get participants to adopt energy-conserving practices that will continue year round.
Stouffer College House (Stouffer Hall and Mayer Hall) is known for a strong community spirit, which kept this 250-resident group a strong contender throughout the competition. With an energy savings of 14.5%, Stouffer finished out well ahead of 2nd Place (10.2%) Gregory College House and The Quad in 3rd Place (5.5%). The Quad was the 2011 College House champion.
Jaffe History of Art Building came in as the Campus Building champion, dropping energy usage by 21.6% over the competition period. Steinhardt Hall took 2nd place, reducing 12.6% over its baseline energy usage, and Huntsman Hall placed 3rd, with a 7.4% energy reduction. Of note, the Franklin Building, the 2011 Campus Building champion, built upon their energy-savings programs from last year and further reduced in this year's competition by 2.8%, while also sustaining a permanent 10% reduction since last year's competition.
The primary goal of the Power Down Challenge is to demonstrate the huge impact that behavior change can have on helping Penn to achieve the energy reduction goals of the Climate Action Plan. The Challenge thus encourages the occupants of each participating building to reduce energy usage by the largest percent over its own baseline usage.
In addition, two buildings deserve recognition for the total amount of energy saved. Stouffer College House saved the most energy in addition to their percent reduction with the most kilowatt hours saved (7,603 kWh saved) among College Houses. Huntsman Hall showed the largest absolute reduction in power usage (35,558 kWh) among Campus Buildings... READ MORE
First "Level 4" Green Office Certifications Awarded
The Penn Green Office Certification program recognizes that offices represent a significant portion of campus energy, material use and waste production. Through the Green Office Certification Program, offices across campus can earn points for specific practices, and gain certification levels from One to Four. A few examples from an extensive list of green actions:
- Earning two points for setting the default on your printers to double-sided printing,
- Three points for using re-useable cups, dishware and utensils, and
- One point for purchasing office paper with at least 30% post-consumer recycled content.
Other points are earned for the way an office works with vendors, holds meetings, and uses transportation.
Since March 31, more than 30 offices on Penn's campus have earned Green Office Certification at Levels 1, 2 or 3. In Fall 2012, the Green Campus Partnership awarded its first two Level 4 Green Office Certifications to Penn Law IT and the Penn Women's Center. Both offices have made great efforts to reduce or recycle their waste. The Law IT group focused heavily on energy-efficient operations, while the Women's Center implemented innovative sustainable operations, such as the Penn Environmental Education Kitchen, a rainwater capture and reuse cistern in the basement, and green housekeeping and purchasing protocols. In addition, both offices focus not just on behind-the-scenes innovations, but make a concerted effort to educate staff and visitors about their green operations. Take a look at what it takes to become a Green Office.
Keeping Job Site Waste Out of Landfills
Penn uses Northeast Philadelphia-based Revolution Recovery for its Small Projects Group construction and demolition waste recycling. Decision-makers in Facilities and Real Estate Services determined that Revolution Recovery's corporate mission - to keep materials out of landfills - strongly aligned with the University's own environmental sustainability goals. The traditional waste management companies that pick up the University's regular trash can do some recycling, such as office paper, but they cannot handle the construction waste that most renovation jobs around campus produce - from replacement of ceiling tiles to redesign and construction.
Monthly reports from Revolution Recovery document that more than 75% of all waste hauled from Penn to the company's Port Richmond center is diverted from landfills. Metal, wood, plastics, cardboard, drywall, siding and carpet - and much more - is sorted and sent on for recycling. Because paint cannot be recycled, much of it is donated to local artists. In fact, usable construction materials picked up by Revolution Recovery are often donated to woodworkers, artists, homeowners, and non-profit organizations. Currently Penn has a handful of Revolution Recovery dumpsters across campus where small renovation and demolition projects are underway. Larger projects have begun using this vendor too, such as the new Law School building, Golkin Hall, and the currently under-construction Singh Center for Nanotechnology.
Metal and Glass, Grass and Trees Shape State-of-the-Art Facility
When the Singh Center for Nanotechnology opens in the Spring, Penn will add to its campus a premier facility that integrates state-of-the-art nanocharacterization, nanofabrication, and property measurement facilities. A sloping grassy quad in front of the Singh Center will bring a new campus green to the eastern edge of campus. Atop the building, a park-like green roof will treat building occupants to trees and benches in shady spots for breaks and lunches. While a quad and small park may seem like basic additions to such a high-tech building, there's nothing simple about the trees, plants and grassy surfaces integrated in this $88 million facility.
Like all new buildings at Penn, the Singh Center has been designed with an eye to achieving a minimum LEED Silver certification. The high-performance research equipment inside the building will not overshadow the complex design of the building and the landscape, which together create another exemplary addition of sustainable design to the campus. According to project architects Weiss/Manfredi, the green roof, garden terrace and landscaped surfaces of the quad work together to collect rainwater for irrigation and mitigate storm surge impacts as required by the Philadelphia Water Department.
On the outside, pleated metal panels provide a highly efficient insulated exterior wall, while the glass façade lining the courtyard (treated with reflective class coatings and enamel frit patterns) brings light into the core of the building and minimizes heat gain. Read more about this new facility on the Penn Connects website.
A Bit of Coney Island in West Philly
During reconstruction work on Wharton's Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall, the project team found that the pergola trelliswork marking the Locust Walk entrance could not be saved due to signs of extensive wood deterioration. Using the original drawings of the architect, Laurie Olin, a landscape architect, author, and a Practice Professor here at Penn for the past 30 years, the project team has engaged consultants to rebuild the trellises and replicate the original design.
In accordance with the University's Climate Action Plan, the new structures are being built from recycled materials with low embodied energy and carbon. The trelliswork will be crafted entirely from reclaimed Ipe timbers from the historical Coney Island Boardwalk, and salvaged metal straps and clamping devices from the original structure will be restored and reused in the new trellises. The reclaimed Ipe timbers became available after the New York Parks department demolished sections of the historic boardwalk in favor of reconstruction with concrete and synthetic wood. Ipe is more resistant to decay and insects; is harder and stronger, and will enjoy a longer lifespan than the softwood used in the original construction.
Penn Transit's New Lower Emission Accessible Bus
This fall, Penn Transit introduced a new vehicle to increase ridership capacity, improve handicap accessibility, provide a smoother service for riders, and expand the number of lower emission vehicles in its fleet.
This bus model uses low-sulfur diesel fuel to decrease carbon emissions. In addition, it saves on maintenance repairs, has a longer lifespan, and increases capacity to 70 riders. This low-floor bus provides ease of entry in compliance with ADA regulations. The bus has a hydraulic 'kneeling device,' which can be used when the bus is not in motion, tilting it or lowering it down to normal curb height to allow some wheelchair users to board unaided. It is also equipped with a wheelchair lift, and when combined with a low floor, can provide a nearly level entry. The vehicle runs along the Penn Bus East route.
Community Farm and Food Resource Center at One Year
The concept of food sovereignty is brought to life at Bartram's Farm in neighboring Southwest Philadelphia. The farm is just one part of the Community Farm and Food Resource Center at Bartram's Gardens, and has recently celebrated its first year of operation. Bartram's Garden is a program of the Penn Netter Center for Community Partnerships and the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative. According to Tyler Holmberg, one of the farm's co-managers, in its first year alone, Bartram's Farm:
- produced over 6,500 lbs of food,
- involved 25 local families (several from Bartram's Village) in the community garden,
- distributed over 60,000 vegetable seedlings through the PHS city harvest program to over 100 farms and gardens around Philadelphia,
- hosted over 1200 volunteers and
- held 20 farm stands on Thursdays at 54th and Lindbergh Sts.
All work was done by volunteers and 21 local high school paid interns - important, points out Mr. Holmberg, because self-reliance is a core value of food sovereignty, along with the production of local, organic, affordable, nutritious, and culturally relevant food. Read about last year's ground-breaking of this Penn-related community initiative.
Bon Appétit Continues to Commit to Kind Sourcing of Food
As part of a new policy announced early in 2012, Bon Appétit will, by 2015, source all of its pre-cracked (liquid) eggs from hens living in cage-free farms - numbering 11 million eggs annually. This standard already applies to all of the shell eggs it receives. In addition, Bon Appétit has promised that by 2015, at least 25% of its meat, poultry, and egg purchases company-wide will be sourced from producers that meet at least one of these four certifications: Animal Welfare Approved, Food Alliance, Humane Farm Animal Care, and Global Animal Partnership.
"Penn is pleased to have Bon Appetit as its food service provider, not only because of the quality of the meals created for our students, but also for the leadership they have shown around sustainable, socially-conscious practices," said Marie Witt, Vice President of Business Services which oversees campus dining.
|Dan Schupsky, Assistant Coach - Penn Athletics
Dan Schupsky is an assistant coach in both men's and women's swimming and diving programs at Penn. He has been in this role at the University since 2010, before which he coached at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa. As a Staff Eco-Rep, Dan encourages sustainable behavior by educating other coaches about the value of green practices. Recently, Dan has been instrumental in helping student athletes to form their own Athletics Eco-Reps community, which will provide a common ground for them to create sustainable programs.
READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH COACH SCHUPSKY...