Category: Sustainability News (page 2 of 37)

5 Ways to Make Your Lab More Energy-Efficient

This spring semester, 10 Tufts labs are participating in The Freezer Challenge (4 on Boston Campus, 2 Dept. of Engineering, 4 Dept. of Biology) –including the labs of Stuart Levy, Karl Munger, Catherine Freudenreich, Sergei Mirkin, Juliet Fuhrman, Nikhil U. Nair, Jamie Maguire, Thomas Biederer, and James Van Deventer. Their goal: to optimize their freezer use to be as energy efficient possible. In fact, a lab freezer—one of the most energy intensive pieces of equipment in a research lab—consumes the same amount of electricity as the average U.S. household each year. At Tufts, research labs and hospital facilities have the largest impact in production of waste, use of water, and consumption of energy.

This spring, with the help and support of the Tufts’ Green Lab Initiative, Tufts’ labs will be working to reduce their freezers’ energy consumption!

If your lab hasn’t joined the 2017 Freezer Challenge, do not fret. Here are 5 easy steps you can take to increase your lab’s energy efficiency:

  1. Take inventory of your freezer, consolidate, and share space – post the location of specific items on the freezer door so that they don’t get lost, buried, or forgotten. Be sure to clearly label your samples with the date, type of sample, and researcher’s name, and discard any old, unwanted samples. Try to keep your newly cleaned out freezer full for maximum efficiency by sharing with others.
  2. Set Ultra Low Temperature (ULT) freezers at the highest required temperature (-70°C is adequate for most bio-molecules and many microbial cultures and DNAs can be stored at -20°C).
  3. Install ULT freezer monitors with alarms that will notify you of temperature failures & keep your samples safe.
  4. Keep your freezers in a well-ventilated area – this helps reduce excess energy consumption by avoiding external heat sources.
  5. Defrost & clean your freezer – try to do so at least once a year to remove any blockages to a proper seal and clear space for sample storage. Clean dusty condenser filters to clear blockages to heat removal.

 

As a bonus tip, consider purchasing a more efficient ULT Freezer. New, conventional ULT freezers use between 16 and 22 kWh per day, overtime they can become less energy efficient. Energy efficient units can use as little as 8kWh/day, which can make a huge difference in your lab’s energy use! You can also save money by purchasing a ULT freezer! Utility companies frequently offer large rebates to labs who switch.

Volunteer, Boston Food Tank Summit (Boston, MA)

Food Tank (www.FoodTank.com) is one of the fastest growing nonprofit organizations around food and agriculture issues, focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. We spotlight environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity, and poverty, and create networks of people, organizations, and content to push for food system change.

Food Tank (www.FoodTank.com), in partnership with The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, is excited to host the inaugural Boston Food Tank Summit on April 1st. This event will feature more than 35 different speakers from the food and agriculture field. Researchers, farmers, chefs, policy makers, government officials, and students will come together for interactive panels.

Food Tank is looking for some high-energy, high-enthusiasm, talented, and committed volunteers to help us with the Summit. 

At past Summits, volunteers have assisted with:

  • Registration & Ushering
  • Food & Hospitality
  • Social Media & Photography
  • Speaker Interviews
  • Show Production

The ideal candidate will have:

  •  Demonstrated experience in and passion for food and agriculture issues.
  •  Excellent communications skills
  • Attention to detail.
  • Social media, photography, film, or performance skills are a plus
  • Conference, event, marketing, and customer service skills are a plus.
  • Restaurant or food handling skills are a plus.
  • Skills in stage management or TV production are a plus.

To apply, please send a resume and your availability on April 1st to Vanesa Botero-Lowry (vanesa@foodtank.com) with “Boston Summit Volunteer” in the subject line.

 

Spring into Meatless Mondays

Eco Reps Meatless Monday Title Photo

Sometimes, it can feel like there isn’t much to be done as an individual seeking to combat the state of our environment, particularly as courses gear up and overwhelm students with reading, problem sets, papers, exams, and stress. If you are feeling a little lost or can’t find your place in the environmental movement, or you just want to talk to really cool, interesting, and motivated Jumbos, be sure to stop by Carm and Dewick between 5pm and 7pm on Monday nights. That’s right, this semester Eco-Reps are back at it again with the Meatless Mondays.

If you’ve ever walked into the dining hall around this time before, you have probably noticed a table of eager Eco-Reps asking you if you’ll eat meatless tonight. This semester, be sure to say hello and talk to them about any of your environmental interests, comments, questions, or concerns. Eco-Reps are a wonderful resource to us students on campus. They are here to help and support us through our semester in a more sustainable way. Each week, they will be talking to us about different environmental themes, including topics in sustainable agriculture. Take this opportunity to learn more about ways that you can make a difference in your daily choices!

 

Meet Your Eco Reps CTA

Medford/Somerville Waste Station Checklist

Recently, you may have noticed some big changes in recycling on the Medford and Somerville campuses: all recycling is now mixed, meaning there are now only types two bins at waste stations across campus: trash and recycling! 

Research shows that an effective way to capture more recyclables is to pair trash containers with recycling containers. Your waste station should have BOTH types of bin listed below:  

Gray trash bin with white “landfill” label 

Gray recycling bin with: 

  • Blue “mixed recycling” label 
  • Light blue bag 
  • Blue UFO-shaped lid 
Complete waste station

Now, that’s a good looking waste station!

If the waste station in your dorm, office, or classroom doesn’t look like the photo above, please submit a work order that will go to Facilities Services.

During the transition to mixed recycling, Tufts strategically reduced the number of waste stations in each building. This helps with efficiency (regarding the time to empty bins) and sustainability (reducing the number of plastic liners we use reduces our overall impact!). Your original central waste station may have been moved to another area on your floor or removed entirely during the transition, however, please do not move any waste receptacles. If you feel that an error has been made with your waste station please submit a work order and contact recycle@tufts.edu with specific questions.  

 

Apply to Live in the Green House!

This sustainability-themed housing unit is in its third year of existence! The suite is located in Latin Way, with 10 available spots.
Living in the Green House is similar to living in one of the existing special interest houses. Instead of focusing on a language or religion, it is meant to be an intentional community of people who are all interested in issues surrounding sustainability. The house is filled with student of a broad range of interests and levels of background knowledge, from those who started their high school environmental club to those just beginning their journey. Everyone in the house is required to either work on sustainability-related research or work with the Sustainable Action Squad (a group of student dedicated to catalyzing environmental changes on campus), and generally be involved in the sustainability movement at Tufts.

The Green House is also intended as a focal point for the environmental community on the Tufts campus. It brings Eco-friendly students, organizations, and faculty together to promote the spread of knowledge and passion for sustainable living. The house provides a living space for environmentally interested students, and a meeting place for the larger Tufts community. The goals of the founders of the house included bringing together people with similar interests in a living environment, fostering the environmental community on campus, providing an opportunity for residents to learn new ways to live sustainably alongside their housemates, providing space for environmental groups to host programs for the entire Tufts community, and bringing together various environmentally focused groups on campus and encouraging cooperation between them.

There will be a free dinner at the Green House on Monday, February 6th from 6:00-8:00 PM in the Latin Way D250s. 

The application is due February 6th at midnight.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at TuftsSustainabilityHouse@gmail.com

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