Sustainability at Tufts

Category: Energy (page 2 of 12)

Unwrapping Building 574, Part 2: Stormwater

I asked Ray Santangelo and David Kadish if stormwater drainage was a factor in the design of building 574. “It was actually required,” Kadish said. “The age of the building resulted in a system that sent the storm water to the sewer lines, which is no longer allowed by the city’s code. This resulted in the installation of filtration tanks to mitigate the amount of water being sent to the city’s infrastructure.” Stormwater infiltration systems are used to collect, treat, and recharge stormwater runoff generated from impervious areas of developments, such as roofs, sidewalks, and parking lots.  They improve stormwater runoff quality and quantity and help to recharge underground aquifer water supplies, reduce the total volume and peak rate of runoff discharged from a site, and reduce the amount of water directed to City stormwater collection systems.IMG_3645

The conversation also included stormwater recharge systems. Kadish explained these in great detail. “For the 574 Boston Avenue project, there are a few different types of stormwater recharge systems, including pervious pavers, a drywell, and two pipe and stone systems. Pervious pavers allow runoff to infiltrate by providing enough space between each individual paver for water to pass into the underlying soils. A drywell is a concrete chamber with small holes in the concrete walls that drain the chamber. Pipe and stone systems are a mix of perforated pipe surrounded by crushed stone.” Crushed stone is a useful material for infiltration systems because of its high void properties. The more void space a soil has, the more stormwater it can ultimately store and infiltrate. All three types of systems use the same process, which is to collect runoff from impervious surfaces, store it within the system, and slowly let the runoff infiltrate into the underlying soil.

One of the challenges of the 574 Boston Avenue project was to reduce the total amount of runoff offsite. “The Harvard Avenue stormwater system was already overloaded and floods during large storm events,” the men explain. “The City required that we reduce the amount of runoff sent to the Harvard Street stormwater system by implementing infiltration systems to reduce runoff from the 574 site. The infiltration system on the Harvard Avenue side of the project was designed to store a 10-year storm, or 4.6-inches of rain in a 24-hour period.”

IMG_3650This also has ramifications for the building’s LEED rating system, the environmental rating that assesses the green design of a project. Stormwater Quantity ratings require that a site infiltrate at least 25% of the runoff generated by a site. Using the techniques described above, the 574 Boston Avenue project will reduce the runoff sent to the City stormwater systems by almost 60%, a true representation of the design team’s dedication to sustainability.

Blog Update: “Unwrapping Building 574″ is Now Available!

The Office of Sustainability is proud to present Part 1 of Unwrapping Building 574, a three part blog on Tufts’ current building project.

Building 574 represents the future of sustainability on Tufts Campus, with green initiatives designed into the building. Due to the uniqueness of the site and age of the building, the project requires some unique initiative and planning to make such a concept feasible. Communications intern Timothy Grant interviewed Ray Santangelo, the project manager, and one of the building’s head architects, David Kasdish, on 574 and what it means for sustainability. Even without a background on the subject, the interview is fascinating and easy to follow. Part 1 includes the history of building and some initiatives to include sustainable design. Part 1 is Available Now!

Eco-Reps Update: Green Campus!

-by Angie Bell

If you’ve mastered composting and are looking for more ways to show your sustainability spirit, now is a great time to start! There are some really awesome events coming up soon that are sure to get you pumped to go green.

As you may already know, RecycleMania is in full swing! Keep up that meticulous recycling because trash is still being graded until the end of March. Preliminary grading put Tilton, Carpenter House and Wilson House in the lead with A minuses, but it’s not too late for your dorm to take the lead! If you have any questions about what is recyclable in your dorm, your Eco-rep is here to help! Also, keep in mind that the whole of the Tufts Meford campus will get a collective grade and then be compared to other schools. This is a great chance to show that environmental responsibility is a priority here at Tufts!  Results will be out the first week of April, and the winning dorm gets to bounce around in one of these babies:

If that doesn’t spark your competitive spirit, I don’t know what will!

If you are interested in energy usage (we know we are!), the Tufts Energy Conference is another event coming up on March 8-9. The theme of this year’s conference is “Shifting Dynamics in Emerging Markets” and it will feature several experts and professionals as keynote speakers, an energy showcase of innovative projects and technologies, interactive small-group discussions, and an exciting competition where student innovators can pitch projects to win seed funding.  Whether you’re already an expert or you just want to get your toes wet, this is a great opportunity to learn from the pros!  If you want to learn more about the conference or register to attend, visit the conference website. And while you’re at it, reduce your energy usage in the dorm by:

  • Unplugging electronics
  • Turning of your power strip
  • Turning off your laptop overnight
  • Turning off the lights when you’re not around
  • Choosing the woolens setting on the washing machines (they do the same job with less energy!)

As always, if you have any questions regarding these events or sustainability in the dorms, contact your friendly neighborhood Eco-rep for answers! Hope you all have a wonderful (and environmentally-friendly) week!

–Angie (Eco-rep for Carm)

Earth Week – Past and Future!

We here at the Office of Sustainability have trouble containing our excitement about all things environmental. So we decided that the best way to celebrate Earth Day was with not one but TWO weeks of activities! If you missed the first week, you can still get in on the fun with a variety of happenings (see below!).
Clothing Swap
Last week our Eco-Reps held a session on natural spas, and on Sunday we joined student groups on campus for EarthFest 2013! It was a beautiful day – the Eco-Reps held another successful clothing swap (look at all those clothes!), we tested students’ recycling IQs, students from a Climate Justice course presented their final project, and MORE!
Workhorse Reusable Shopping BagWe have also extended our Earth Week Scavenger Hunt for another week! Snap some cool pictures of specific items and people around campus, post them to our Twitter or Facebook pages, and you could win a cool reusable shopping bag that folds into its own pouch and is small enough to carry in a purse or pocket.

It is important to remember, however, that Earth Day (Earth Week, Earth Month) is just a greater surge in what should be a year-round effort. Make a change today, small or large. Take advantage of the many resources available on our website and blog, submit events and comments to help us improve, and always feel free to actually stop by to talk! Many thanks also to Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE), the Environmental Studies department, and Tufts Sustainability Collective for all that they do!

Also happening this week:
If you live in a dorm at Tufts, don’t forget to take our short survey about the Tufts Eco-Rep program. By completing the survey, you will be entered into a raffle for $50!

Earth Week Events

Please join the Office of Sustainability for a free viewing of YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip! “Called to action by a planet in peril, three friends hit the road – traveling with hope, humor, and all of their garbage – to explore every state in America (the good, the bad…and the weird) in search of the extraordinary innovators and citizens who are tackling humanity’s greatest environmental crises.” Expect to laugh, learn – and enjoy some FREE Flatbread PIZZA while you’re at it!
In addition to the  screening of YERT, here is a selection of Earth Week events happening on the Tufts campus or in the area!

And as always… Stay Green!

2013 Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy: Sustainable Transportation

Announcing the 3rd annual
Hosted by the Energy Initiative at the University of Illinois at Chicago, in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory; Clean Energy Trust; Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (University of Chicago); Energy and Sustainability Engineering (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign); Initiative for Sustainability & Energy at Northwestern (Northwestern University); Wanger Institute for Sustainable Energy Research (Illinois Institute of Technology)

2013 Program Theme: Sustainable Transportation

The Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy (SISE) is a two-week intensive workshop and lecture series geared towards individuals interested in the title subjects: sustainability and energy.  From August 5-16, a diverse body of participants will converge on the UIC campus and immerse itself in a broad spectrum of sustainability and energy related topics.  Issues presented will be of interest to scientists, economists, political scientists, urban planners, engineers, architects, and entrepreneurs.  Participants will engage these issues through interactive and interdisciplinary lectures and panel discussions, collaborative research projects that stress scientific innovation and entrepreneurship, networking opportunities with academics and professionals, and tours of sustainability and energy related sites in the Chicago area.  This experience leaves graduates of the Summer Institute with a firm foundation for future careers in sustainability and energy, and inspires them to lead the next generation as thoughtful and informed global citizens.


Admission into the program is highly competitive. 60-80 participants will be accepted from a pool of national applicants.  Those accepted into the program can expect to receive financial support including transportation getting to and from Chicago, lodging during the duration of the program, and most meals.

We invite you to learn more about the Summer Institute.
Visit us on the web at:

Older posts Newer posts