The HGSE Sustainability Program is a partnership between HGSE and the Harvard Office for Sustainability (OFS) and was created in the wake of the overwhelming scientific evidence about climate change.
Universities have a double impact on climate change, not only through their operations and subsequent environmental impacts, but most importantly through their education of future generations and future leaders who will be making important decisions in their areas of practice. By raising environmental awareness among our students, we build environmental awareness for the future. This is of particular importance at HGSE, where future educators come to learn.
The goal of our program is to reduce the environmental impacts of HGSE operations, and to foster environmentally resource conscious students, faculty, and staff. The program has three major components:
- The HGSE Green Team - The HGSE Green Team brings together representatives from key departments within HGSE, as well as a representative from the Harvard Office for Sustainability. The Green Team provides general oversight, coordinates the educational campaigns and is a forum for information exchange.
- Occupational Education Program - Buildings account for 30% of all energy used in the US and 60% of all electricity consumption. However, it is not only the building's design that influences their energy use. Equally important is how sustainable behaviors among a building's occupants could reduce a building's energy consumption by 10-15%. Our social behavioral campaigns target specific occupant behaviors with the goals of raising environmental awareness and engaging HGSE community members in more sustainable behaviors.
- Sustainable Renovation/LEED Practices - The Operations Department has partnered with OFS to analyze historical energy use in buildings, and identify and implement energy conservation measures (ECMs). All ECMs are evaluated on their return on investment, their eligibility for NStar rebates, Green Campus Loan funding, and trimming within the school's capital planning. All potential projects are carefully considered with stakeholders to ensure that they are in line with our mission. Their implementation will be coupled with educational campaigns - so that the building occupants are aware of the upcoming changes and know how to make the most of the new infrastructure to reduce energy in their building.