Red & Blue On College Green
campus aerial
SUSTAINABILITY NEWS FROM THE UNIVERSITY of PENNSYLVANIA
MARCH 2013
fres vp papageorge
INDIVIDUAL CHOICES, COMMUNITY IMPACT

Across our University community, we see daily examples of leadership - in academia, on the sports field, in our social groups. More often than not, it takes just one person to step forward, to share an idea, or to speak up and others will find value in that action and join in. And even if agreement is not found from all, such an action or idea will spark intense debate, which is a good and necessary aspect of our educational environment.

 

In this issue of The Red & Blue on College Green, you will find stories of many in our campus community who demonstrate environmental leadership:

  • Students in Stouffer College House are piloting a "green dorm" certification to recognize individual achievements in environmental responsibility on a very personal level - their dorm rooms.
  • Penn staff and faculty are recycling at work through office clean-out events. 
  • Those staff and faculty who live in the City of Philadelphia are invited to participate in the "greening" of our city by planting a tree as part of our third Creating Canopy event. 
  • And in May, our choices to shop locally and sustainably will be made easier with the return of the University Square Farmers' Market at the corner of 36th and Walnut Sts. near the Penn Bookstore.

 

One tree, one "green" dorm, one "e-cycled" printer, or one basket of locally grown strawberries purchased from an independent farmer does make a difference. Whatever you plant, or purchase, or throw away sends a message about our thoughtful choices and the impact on the larger community. The Green Campus Partnership encourages this thoughtfulness and invites your collaboration. Let us know what you are doing in your office, your College House, your class, or your team to raise awareness of environmental sustainability at sustainability@upenn.edu. Best practices are even better when shared. 

 

Anne Papageorge  

Anne Papageorge
Vice President, Facilities & Real Estate Services
University of Pennsylvania

 

 
IN THIS ISSUE
Green Dorm Pilot Program
Creating Canopy 2013
VIPER's First Year
Sustainability: There's an App for That
Clean Steam at Penn
Composting at Penn Museum
Green Office Clean-Outs
Greene Street Makes Shopping Sustainable
LEED Gold for Wharton San Francisco
Penn Transit Opens Propane Fueling Station
Locally Sourced Items on Penn's Menu
Leading the Green: Michael Accardo, C'14
QUICK LINKS
 Penn Green Campus Partnership Website
Subscribe to Red & Blue On College Green
Download the Penn Climate Action Plan
Share Your Story
Red & Blue On College Green Archives

Upcoming Events

 

March 23-29

Green Week

Sponsored by the Student Sustainability Association at Penn. PEG's annual GreenFest will be Friday, March 29. 

March 31
M.I. Green Application Deadline
Move In Green Volunteers raise interest in environmental sustainability.

 

April 2, 6 PM

Chasing Ice film screening

Cohen Auditorium

RSVP to goresko@upenn.edu

 

May 16-17

The Cultural Landscape Foundation

Civic Horticulture Conference - Philadelphia

Register online.

 

May 18-19

What's Out There Weekend - Philadelphia 

Expert-led tours of significant examples of Philadelphia landscape architecture include several sites at Penn.

 

November 20-22

Greenbuild 2013 Conference - Philadelphia

More than 30,000 attendees are expected at Greenbuild 2013. More than 500 student volunteers are needed and can receive a free conference registration. Volunteer applications are open now.

 interest.

 

FEATURED STORIES
green shopping bag Green Dorm Pilot Launches in Stouffer 
Students' daily choices impact the University's overall sustainability initiatives. With the enthusiastic involvement of Stouffer College House, the Green Campus Partnership has introduced the Green Dorm program, a tangible acknowledgement of students who exhibit exceptional environmental conscientiousness on a personal level. 

 

Participating students can earn points for their green lifestyle choices, which are assigned values based on their impact and level of difficulty. Some examples include eating with re-usable dishware and utensils, using cold water settings when washing clothes, taking showers less than 5 minutes in length, or joining an environmental group on campus. A minimum of 40 points is required to achieve certification. "All participating students will receive a decal celebrating their achievement, which can be placed outside their room or in another visible location," said Julian Goresko, Sustainability Student Outreach Associate. Outcomes of the Stouffer pilot will be reviewed over the summer, to plan for a roll out to all College Houses in the near future.

 

Kristin Zuhone, one of three Eco-Reps in Stouffer, along with Michael Schatz and Emily Gurniak, elected to pilot Green Dorm as their Eco-Rep Group Project for Spring. They believed that the Stouffer community would prove receptive to Green Dorm for two reasons: a heightened interest in environmental sustainability following their victory in the Fall 2012 Power Down Challenge, and a persistent spirit of competitiveness among the residents. According to Ms. Zuhone, they are presenting the launch of Green Dorm as a competition among the floors and sections of the College House (in both buildings, Stouffer and Mayer). "Our previous successes with the Fall 2011 composting competition and Fall 2012 light-counting competition during the Power Down Challenge attest to the effectiveness of competitions in our community," she explained.

 

The floor or section with the highest percentage of residents achieving Green Dorm certification between March 16 and April 13 will receive environmentally themed gift baskets for all its residents. The Eco-Reps in Stouffer will concentrate their efforts on collaboration with their ten GAs and two Faculty Fellows, online publicity of the Green Dorm program, promotional events and advertising campaigns, giveaways and educational initiatives, as well as follow-up surveys as metrics of success.

 

Greening Philadelphia: Creating Canopy 2013

We are spreading roots for a greener region!  This spring, Penn is partnering with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation for the third annual Creating Canopy tree giveaway.  
Approximately 100 trees, one per address, will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis to interested Penn staff and faculty who live within the city limits and who pre-register for the giveaway.  These Penn employees will join with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation to help 'TreePhilly' by planting and maintaining the free tree in their yard.

Visit the Green Campus Partnership website or email sustainability@upenn.edu for additional details.

 

LEARNING SUSTAINABILITY
viper 2012

Summer Research Projects Ahead for VIPER Inaugural Class

The study of alternative energy offers a world of opportunity to the first class of students in Penn's interdisciplinary VIPER program. The inaugural class of the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) is comprised of nine talented, prepared, and motivated students who are interested in energy, science, and engineering.  They come to Penn from seven States and Mexico City, Mexico, and share an eagerness to apply science to energy research - with an added flavor of environmental awareness.
 
While still very new, Penn's VIPER program has had no trouble attracting applicant interest, said Jane Dmochowski, Managing Director of the program. Dr. Dmochowski shares Faculty Director responsibility for VIPER with Dr. Andrew M. Rappe and Dr. John M. Vohs. She explained that high school students may have done a research project and advanced courses in the sciences where they become aware of the applications of fields like Chemistry and Physics to solving problems related to energy and the environment, and they wish to continue this interdisciplinary work in college. "These students who were accepted into the VIPER program at Penn, likely all got into great schools, but they decided to come here, at least in part, because VIPER is a dual degree program (a BA and a BSE) that focuses on the research component of their work early on," she said.

  

In their freshman year, these nine students have been exposed to a broad education in energy, science, and technology in a very contemporary way, by reading current journals and books and taking part in mini-seminar talks with Penn faculty in their VIPER seminar (VIPR120), in addition to course work across the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Encouraged to think of themselves as researchers from the start, they are now selecting mentors and will submit a research proposal for the summer. In VIPR120 they dive into the literature and practice identifying areas of "expertise" - from conductive polymers to ionic liquids to nanocrystalline metals - and then forging collaborations with others to work on proposals together. Combining these in-class experiences with their summer research internships, the students' research interests will develop over the course of the program.

  

Dr. Dmochowski pointed out that this ability to tailor the program to their individual interest is another appealing element of VIPER. "These students can do problem solving toward something they care about," she said. By the end of four years, she explained, VIPER students' research will be submitted for publication, and should be on par with that of graduate-level researchers.

  

Read about the origin of the VIPER program in the December 2011 issue of this newsletter.

 

heat map for app

Penn Hackathon Team Writes Sustainability App

Sometimes it's all fun and games for hackers, developing new software to provide information or entertainment. But at the seventh PennApps  -  held January 18 - 20 - one Penn team worked in support of Greenworks Philadelphia, the Mayor's plan to make Philadelphia the number one green city in America. In the category of Top Civic or Social Improvement Apps, the Penn team of Joel Goldman and Amber Lowey developed the Social Development & Urban Sustainability app and received $500 and a scheduled meeting with Philadelphia Mayor Nutter.  The Penn team shared this prize with the developers of SmoothRide - an app that helps cyclists find smooth and easy bike routes around Philly.

Goldman is a senior who in May will be the first graduate of the new Networked and Social Systems Engineering Program, and will be interning this summer at Microsoft. Ms. Lowey will graduate in May with a degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and aspires to a job in the environmental sector. Both of these students have had an interest in environmentalism during his or her years at Penn, participating with Penn Green, PEG, Eco-Reps, the UPenn Outdoors Club, and Green Acorn. Translating sustainability into software came easily; the goal of their app was to help the city become a better place by recommending the best locations for things like trees, bike racks, and city parks. Mr. Goldman said that the targeted users of the app would be "the city representatives who make these decisions. A park in one place may have a much greater positive impact than a park somewhere else and we wanted to highlight and quantify that."

 

The Social Development & Urban Sustainability app analyzes data to produce heat-maps color-coding the best locations to plant trees (red being the best, and green being not as vital). The heat-map incorporates approximately 700 thousand data points from over the last six years.

 

The January 2013 PennApps is reported to have been the largest student-organized hackathon to date worldwide. More than 450 students from universities across the United States, Switzerland, Canada and Germany competed for cash prizes during the 40-hour app building session.

 

These two Penn hackers invite questions to joelgold@seas.upenn.edu and lowey@seas.upenn.edu.

 

CONSERVING ENERGY

New Rapid Fire Boilers Provide Clean Steam to Philadelphians

Emissions from energy use make up 85% of Penn's carbon footprint, according to Facilities & Real Estate Services Executive Director of Operations & Maintenance Ken Ogawa. Using clean steam helps the University lower its carbon emissions, and move towards its Climate Action Plan goals. Now, thanks to an arrangement with Veolia Energy, all systems on campus that require thermal energy - heat, hot water, lab equipment, humidifiers - receive steam from Veolia's generation plant in nearby Grays Ferry. This totals about half of Penn's energy usage; electricity for lighting, air conditioning, and equipment makes up the other half.

Using this public utility as the source of steam for the campus and Penn's hospital system meets our green commitment in a couple of ways, explained Mr. Ogawa. "Veolia's newly upgraded rapid-fire natural gas boilers allowed the company to decommission the old, inefficient fuel-oil boilers." He pointed out that these new boilers reduced the carbon footprint for all steam users in Philadelphia by approximately ten percent. "Steam has become a much cleaner fuel source for all of their customers, including Penn, because of these new systems," Mr. Ogawa said. By working with this vendor, Penn is using cleaner energy, in addition to the University's initiatives to reduce energy overall. Read more about green steam in this Philadelphia Inquirer article.

 

fres energy ticker

Models of Excellence Recognizes Energy Conservation Efforts

The Models of Excellence program is a reminder of the incredible impact that staff contributions have on Penn's success each day.  This year, Ken Ogawa, FRES Executive Director for Operations & Maintenance, will receive the Models of Excellence award for his leadership in developing and implementing the Electricity Literacy and Electricity Price Ticker program.  This program - which has inspired similar projects nationwide - uses digital media to inform the public of the price volatility of electricity in an effort to promote energy efficiency on campus and beyond.  It has helped Penn both save energy and contain costs while educating more of the Penn community on smarter electricity usage. The Models of Excellence Award Ceremony is scheduled for April 9th at 4pm at Irvine Auditorium. 

 

MINIMIZING WASTE
penn museum

Composting Begins at the Penn Museum

Visitors to the Penn Museum who enjoy a meal in the Pepper Mill Café can be assured that if they do not clean their plates, the waste will not end up in a landfill. Thanks to a Fall 2012 Green Fund grant, the museum has begun a composting program. Penn Museum's Director of Building Operations, Brian McDevitt, said that a pig farm in nearby Sewell, NJ, will receive the food waste and process it as food for their animals. As the leader of this project, Mr. McDevitt is enthusiastic about its potential to be good for the environment and save in other waste disposal costs.

 

Penn's Green Fund seeds innovative ideas from Penn students, faculty, and staff with one-time grants of as much as $50,000. To read about all Green Fund projects, visit the Green Campus Partnership website.

 

office clean out

Spring Cleaning with Green in Mind

Is anyone even sure of what is stored away in their drawers, cabinets, closets, and file rooms? Ancient files, books and magazines, old computers, cathode tube display screens, and old furniture - nearly all of these things can be recycled. Sign up your office for the Green Campus Partnership's Office Clean Out Challenge!

 

Here's how - hold an Office Clean Out in March or April and involve as many people in your office as possible. The office with the highest participation will be recognized at the end of the Challenge. Full details are available from your Staff & Faculty Eco-Reps, but here are the basics:

  • Sign up by filling out a commitment form.
  • Select a date when your entire office/floor/department (you select the scale of your Clean Out) can participate
  • Contact FRES for housekeeping support (additional bins, pick-ups)
  • Advertise, advertise, advertise - increase that participation rate! All participants will sign a form to verify participation in the Clean Out.

Specialty items can be recycled in just a few additional steps. Ask akreiner@upenn.edu if you need guidance in recycling:

  • Batteries
  • Old pens and markers
  • Printer toner/inkjet cartridges
  • Unneeded furniture and equipment
  • Computers, printers, other electronics
  • Excess single-sided printed paper
  • Confidential items that need shredding.

 

PennMOVES

PennMOVES - When you can't take it with you

Since its inception in 2008, PennMOVES has annually collected approximately 90,000 pounds of items that students can't take with them when they leave campus in the summer such as clothes, furniture, kitchen gear, and non-perishable food items. Rather than ending up in the landfill, these items are now made available to individuals and organizations throughout our local community.

 

This year, Penn is again collaborating with Goodwill Industries to provide technical expertise and logistical support for the effort. Goodwill Industries is one of the world's largest nonprofit providers of employment training services for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment including a new partnership with the Philadelphia's Mayor's Office for the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders (RISE).  Launched in 2009, RISE helps get ex-offenders back on their feet and to work by receiving hands-on light industrial skills training while earning a weekly paycheck.

 

This year's campus collection will start on May 1, but students who want to get a head start can deposit clothing and shoes in two Goodwill collection containers which will be placed on campus as of April 2. One is located outside of Sansom Place West and the other outside of Rodin. 

 

Greene Street Brings Sustainable Shopping to Penn

The possibility of a sustainable closet became more of a reality in February with the opening of Greene Street, a boutique consignment shop, on Spruce Street near 38th Street. With the tagline, "Shop, Recycle, Consign," Greene Street is a resource for fashionistas who prefer to recycle clothing rather than see it end up in landfills. "With success in the suburban marketplace and near other college campuses, we thought the Penn community would embrace Greene Street," said Ed Datz, Executive Director of FRES Real Estate Operations. "A consignment shop seemed like a good addition to our retail mix." Learn more about the offerings for both men and women on the Greene Street website .

 

DESIGNING GREEN
Wharton West LEED Gold for Wharton San Francisco
Wharton San Francisco's new expanded facility, located in the historic Hills Brothers Plaza at the base of the Bay Bridge, has achieved LEED CI Gold Certification. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building program administered by the U.S. Green Building Council; CI refers to the benchmarks for Commercial Interiors.

 "It is an understatement to say that achieving LEED Gold is not easy," pointed out University Architect David Hollenberg. "To have done so is to signal the level of collaboration by Wharton with its architects and facility managers, and to indicate the school's commitment to sustainability." He added that Penn's Climate Action Plan, which began in 2009, requires that all new buildings meet at least the LEED Silver certification requirements.

 

Project details that earned the San Francisco campus points on the LEED rating system included the use of construction materials containing a percentage of post-consumer recycled content, the incorporation of recycling and composting programs, and the installation of low-flow water fixtures and EnergyStar appliances. Wharton San Francisco also earned a LEED Innovation Credit by implementing a Green Cleaning program where, among other things, the housekeepers use environmentally friendly cleaning products and have traded disposable cleaning cloths and mop heads for washable, reusable ones. Learn more about the new Wharton facility on the San Francisco campus website.

 

The new San Francisco facility is Wharton's second LEED Gold building. Joe's Café, located on Penn's Philadelphia campus in Wharton's Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall achieved LEED CI Gold Certification in 2011.

 

wharton kitchen

Kitchen Renovation Keeps a Lid on Construction Waste

When the decision was made to relocate a kitchen to make space for two more offices in Vance Hall, Wharton's very active Green Team, led by two staff Eco-Reps, lobbied hard to have almost everything in the kitchen space reused or recycled. According to Associate Director of Sustainability, Wharton Operations, Rafael de Luna, the original third floor kitchen used by External Affairs was carefully deconstructed, preserving the wall and base cabinets, sink, faucet and counter top for re-use in the new location.  The pendant light fixtures were reused and occupancy sensors were added in both the kitchen and new offices.  Most of the appliances like the refrigerator, coffee machine and Quench water machine were also reused.  "The new kitchen floor is made of 50% recycled vinyl floor tiles and was installed using a solvent free zero VOC adhesive," said Mr. DeLuna.  "The wall primer and paint selections were low odor zero VOC paints - in both the kitchen and new offices."  He explained that because most of the materials were reused, minimal construction waste was generated from this project.  The waste that was generated was sent to a construction waste recycling facility in Philadelphia.  As part of the renovation project, the department also added a bottle filling station equipped with a digital counter.

 

REDUCING EMISSIONS

Penn Named Among Best for Commuters

The University of Pennsylvania has been named a Best Workplaces for Commuters by the National Center for Transit Research (NCTR) at the University of South Florida. Best Workplaces for Commuters, is a program designed to encourage sustainable transportation innovation. The awards recognize organizations who have taken exemplary steps to offer transportation options such as vanpool and transit benefits or telework and compressed workweek for their employees.  Penn received a Gold award in the University category for what the NCTR calls "exemplary steps to offer transportation options." Learn more about Penn's Sustainable Transportation Initiative.

 

To view a list of the rest of the University awardees, and those in the categories of Employer, Employer (under 100), and Supporting Agency, visit bestworkplaces.org.

 

propane fuel station

Penn Transit Opens the University's First Propane Fueling Station

In the coming weeks, Penn Transportation and Parking will open a new propane fueling station at South Bank. The facility, which is the only private propane fueling station in Philadelphia, holds 1,000 gallons of fuel - enough to fuel the entire Penn Transit fleet for a week. 

Propane-powered vehicles produce 30-90% less carbon monoxide and about 50% less toxins and smog producing substances than normal gasoline-powered vehicles.  Since propane is over 90% domestically produced, it is more readily available than most other alternative fuels and costs about $1 less per gallon than gasoline.  Propane also is easier on the vehicles. Its high octane rating enables it to mix better with air and to burn more completely than does gasoline, generating less carbon. With less carbon buildup, spark plugs often last longer, and oil changes are needed less frequently, resulting in less corrosion and engine wear than gasoline. Finally, an on-site fueling station provides a huge savings in manpower and mileage. Drivers can fuel up in five minutes at the end of their shift, instead of driving through Philadelphia traffic to the nearest filling station.

 

As part of the University's Climate Action Plan, Penn Transit plans to retro-fit the existing shuttle van fleet to utilize propane fuel over the next five years to further reduce Penn's carbon footprint.  They currently have four propane vehicles and by the end of FY13 will have eight. In the future, Penn Transit plans to allow any University vehicle to utilize the station. In addition, Penn Transit has the ability through its maintenance program to convert gas-powered University vehicles to propane.

 

EATING LOCAL
Capogiro

Retail Dining Increases Menu of Locally Sourced Items

Since coming to campus in 2009, Bon Appétit has built strong relationships with local farmers to increase the amount of produce, meat and dairy that comes from farms within 150 miles of Penn's campus. The program, known as Farm to Fork, is just one of the ways that the Penn's food service company supports the University's Climate Action Plan goals.

This academic year, Bon Appétit took its local engagement to a new level by expanding the programs to include items such as coffee, cupcakes and gelato. "Since Bon Appétit already was engaged in local food sourcing through our purchases from farms," said Bon Appétit's Director of Retail Dining Sky Strouth, who has spearheaded this effort, "it just made sense that we introduce popular local brands in our retail operations."

 

This initiative began at Mark's Café in Van Pelt Library last November with the introduction of Rival Brother's Coffee, a local coffee roasting enterprise.  Since then, it has grown to include products from Talula's Garden, in Kennett Square, PA, cupcakes from Brown Betty Dessert Boutique, gelato from Capogiro (pictured), and granola from Metropolitan Bakery. These items are sold in Houston Market and at the Gourmet Grocer in the mezzanine level of 1920 Commons. Little Baby's Ice Cream, which offers unique flavors, such as Earl Gray Tea Sriracha and Peanut Butter Maple Tarragon, is also available at the Gourmet Grocer.

 

University Square Farmers' Market

University Square Farmers' Market Returns to 36th & Walnut in May

Fresh food vendors are scheduled to return to the corner of 36th and Walnut Sts. beginning on May 1. Beechwood Orchards and Big Sky Bread have signed on to return for another season, and will be joined by a number of other local, sustainable and/or artisan vendors offering their wares to the Penn community. At the time of this article, organizers of the farmers' market plan to hold the weekly Wednesday market into December.



 

LEADING THE GREEN
penn garden clubMichael Accardo, C'14
Michael Accardo, psychology major and Residential Advisor in Ware College House, apparently also has a green thumb. As the Head Gardener of the Penn Garden Club, Michael has been cultivating interest in campus gardening projects that have lost their champion, usually through graduation or an end to funding. Under his guidance, the Garden Club is working on reviving the garden at Rodin College House, planted originally as a Fall 2009 Green Fund project. As part of this work on the Rodin Garden, students are starting seeds at the Women's Center, at the BioPond greenhouses, and even in their dorm rooms. Michael is also gathering resources to restart the composting project at Mayer Hall (also a 2009 Green Fund project) and plans to use that material in the Rodin Garden.

As someone who grew up with friends who lived on farms, and tending his own small suburban vegetable plot, Michael is committed to demonstrating at Penn sustainable and organic growing in an urban environment. In this effort, Penn Garden Club works often with UNI* to provide garden training to members of both organizations about better growing practices and planning.


READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL ACCARDO...