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Unwrapping Building 574- History and Redesign

My meeting with Ray Santangelo and David Kadish occurred on a Friday afternoon at the Tufts University Facility Services Department in Medford. As an intern for the Office of Sustainability, I had agreed to meet to talk with them about the sustainability initiatives and design of building 574, an old building that Tufts had owned for the last twenty years and was converting into an office, study, and dining space.  When I asked the gentlemen what the name was of the building (my office gave it the unoriginal moniker “Building five seventy-four”), they both smiled. “We pretty much call it 5-7-4.”
Apparently, in both name and appearance, the building is fairly unremarkable. It sits on the corner of Boston and Harvard, a multistoried construction site hidden away from the eye by a giant tarp. In its most recent past, the building was leased to local artists by the university as a studio space. The current condition of the building however, is a poor standard of evaluation. The future of 574 coupled with the complexities of its storied past makes the building so exciting that Santangelo, the project manager, and Kadish, an architect from his team, took the time to talk about their work with me.

“It’s unique for a building of that vintage. I can’t imagine there’s any other similar place around with this design,” Santangelo said. When I asked them how old the building was, Kadish informs me that it’s dated in the early 1900s. This is astonishing; the two men reg

ale me with stories they’ve heard of the building’s long history. “It’s been a furniture factory, cardboard factory, mattress seller. I’ve even heard it was a slaughterhouse at one point.

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We found some images of a train derailing in the 50s that crashed into the corner of the building.” Kadish acknowledged that it was in bad shape. “It’ll be completely different once it’s unwrapped”, he said.

Now under the control of Tufts again, the building is getting ready for new use. Both the design and appearance are receiving a complete overhaul, with the key components of efficiency and sustainability in mind.  The interior (core), barrier between the outside and inside (envelope), and the exterior are all being redesigned. During the construction process, the team is guided by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification ratings. These standards are allotted on a point system, by which a building earns points for each objective met. These include a variety of features, from the design of the core and envelope and local material supply utilization to the energy use of the building. Even spaces for car sharing services count. Currently tracking silver, the building is aiming for a gold certification upon completion.

A fundamental concept of the building is its use of natural light. “One of the goals in general for the design is to have as much natural light in a work space as possible and entering the building as deeply possible,” Kadish informed me. “Likewise, you want interior spaces to be able to have a view of the outside, and this in itself is a potential LEED credit.” In addition to this, the design team is looking at lighting systems that will adapt to the level of natural light entering the interior, allowing for efficient energy use. This utilization of natural light represents Tufts’ dedication to implementing contemporary sustainability on campus.IMG_3634 In addition to lighting, the building will focus on efficient design for heating and cooling. 574 will lack any use of perimeter radiation heating, focusing on an air fed system that will reduce the presence of piping near the windows and in the hallways, also reducing maintenance costs. Exterior insulation will be increased beyond typical construction standards and the windows will be triple glazed, meaning glass treating and multiple paneling procedures that reduce heat loss by a third. These improved components allow for better thermal insulation during the wintertime.

To be continued!

Lunch and Learn Recap: Elena Naumova, Environmental Indicators of Enteric Infections and Water Safety in Southern India

Elena Naumova, director of the Tufts Initiative for the Forecasting and Modeling of Infectious Diseases (InForMid) and Associate Dean for Research at the Tufts School of Engineering, spoke last week as part of the Tufts Environmental Studies and Tufts Institute of the Environment Lunch and Learn program. Her presentation on the Environmental Indicators of Enteric Infections and Water Safety in Southern India covered student research projects sponsored through a collaboration between the Tufts School of Engineering and Christian Medical College in Vellore, India.

 A mathematician by training, Naumova emphasized the importance of translating data into usable information that allows for action and policy.

Naumova began by laying out the importance of preventing waterborne diseases. Globally, there are 4 billion cases of diarrhea annually, 2.2 million of which lead to death. Of those 2.2 million, 80% of the deaths are among infants. Unsafe water is a large factor in these diseases.

Modern mathematical tools allow for an understanding of waterborne outbreaks in “temporal and spatial patterns”, Naumova said. “Practically all waterborne diseases exhibit strong seasonal patterns distinct for a specific pathogen in a given population [and] locality”, in a phenomenon known

as seasonality. An example familiar to New England residents, of course, would be the peaks of flu that occur in the winter. “Variability in seasonal characteristics can provide clues on important factors influencing disease occurrence, exposure, [and] spread.” These environmental factors, when they are within human control, could be a key to disease prevention. Climate change, however, will affect our ability to use these seasonal indicators as the patterns we have come to recognize begin to shift radically.

Naumova further presented statistics on the seasonality of cryptosporidiosis in the United States and the United Kingdom, salmonellosis in the United Status, and rotavirus in India.

She then laid out two studies conducted by some of her students, Dr. Stefan Collinet-Adler, Andrea Brown, Alexandra Kulinkina, and Negin Ashoori. Both studies examined the transmission of infectious diarrhea in 300 urban and rural households in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, India. The first study focused on the role of flies, which can carry pathogens such as norovirus, salmonella, and rotavirus. In the tests conducted, 72% of the flies tested positive for potential human pathogens. The second study used GIS to map ground water quality and distribution systems in Vellore.

Naumova here noted the importance of recognizing the difference between water quality and quantity: the focus of these studies was on quality, for lack of water leads to other severe problems but obviously cannot cause waterborne diseases.

Elena said she is always looking for students who are interested in going abroad and conducting research and will do whatever she can to make that possible!

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)

Tufts EcoReps are Now Accepting Applications!!!

Application Deadline: April 14th at 11:59 pm

Eco-Rep’s applications for the fall 2014 semester are currently available here. Submit completed applications to the Eco-Rep Coordinators at tuftsecoreps@gmail.com.

The Tufts Eco-Reps are a group of residential students who help to raise awareness about ecological issues, encourage environmentally responsible behavior among their hall mates and peers, and plan related events and activities. Other duties will include group activities, collaborative projects, and opportunities to represent the Eco-Reps Program at various campus events. There are currently seventeen undergraduate Eco-Reps and one graduate Eco-Rep, who represents Blakeley Hall at The Fletcher School. Some positions may become available at the end of the fall semester for spring 2015.

Eco-Reps must attend a training retreat as well as weekly meetings. At each meeting you’ll be introduced to a new topic, help plan activities, and brainstorm actions to take in your residence halls over the following weeks. Any returning student that lives in university housing is eligible. Find out more information here.

Eco-Rep Update: Living a Green Life

by Arshiya Goel

This week the Eco-reps had Dr. Jack Barbash as a guest speaker. A research chemist for the U.S. Geological Survey, he spoke to us about his job and his views on the green movement. I was especially inspired by his dedication to living sustainably. When he visited Boston from California, he took the train (a three day journey) instead of flying! We were all impressed by the amount of patience this takes and what a big difference it makes. Airplanes are the worst gas-guzzlers and have humongous carbon footprints, while trains use only a small percentage of that energy for the same distance travelled.

It’s not easy to forgo the ease of flying for long train journeys in order to reduce your carbon footprint, but the key to sustainable living is baby steps towards those big commitments! Here are a few simple ways you can reduce your carbon footprint and live green during college!

  • Recycle! Tufts recycles everything from paper, cardboard, hard plastics to aluminum foil and metals. Just look at the front of the bins on your floors.
  • Use CFL or LED bulbs. They use less energy and last for decades. Take your old bulbs to the Office of Sustainability (on the back of Miller Hall) to trade them in for a CFL!
  • Use cold wash when doing laundry. This is better for your clothes and uses a lot less energy.  To do this in the dorm laundry machines choose “woolens” or “bright colors”.
  • Plug your electronics into a power strip and remember to turn it off when you leave your room. This stops them from leaking “vampire energy”.
  • Compost your food scraps! Our dorm composts can compost nearly everything (but no meat, dairy or eggs, please).
  • Try to cut down on your shower time or just turn the faucet off while shampooing.
  • You can recycle batteries, ink cartridges, cell phones, and even electronic chargers. Look for the white boxes in your dorms and in some other buildings on campus!
  • REDUCE! Think about the packaged things you are buying and make choices that decrease the waste you produce.

For more information and tips you can ask any Eco-rep for a Green Guide. These are just small steps towards creating a sustainable lifestyle. Every decision you make can make a difference. With every step we take, we aim to collectively reduce our negative impact on the climate as a species. It’s not always easy and it’s rarely comfortable, but it is essential for our future on this planet. And maybe next time you need to travel from Boston to New York or Seattle to Portland you can consider taking a train and enjoying the beautiful scenery from ground level!

-Arshiya

The Latest From the Eco-Reps!

by Ellen Osborn

Hey there Tufts greenies!

recyclemaniaThe Eco-reps have been busy this week, just as I’m sure you have been! The semester is in full swing, especially with the kick-off of RECYCLEMANIA!!! The competition is officially on, so start obsessively sorting trash everywhere you go, but especially in your own dorm to win the inter-dorm competition and claim the epic prize at the end!

This week, residents of Hodgdon Hall taste-tested bottled and tap water during the Superbowl to see if they could taste the difference, as many big bottle companies claim most can. As Eco-Rep Arshiya Goel predicted, her residents mostly preferred the tap water! So fill those water bottles at the fountain without fear, Jumbos: you’re getting a great deal and saving the planet one plastic bottle at a time! Thanks to our guinea pigs, the wonderful residents of Hodgdon Hall, who were multi-tasking, taking their Superbowl time to create some fascinating new data in favor of sustainability!

cups morecups evenmorecups

Wren Hall is making green strides this week as well with the kick-off of a new DORM BAGS campaign. Piloted last semester, the project is back in full swing with lots of new bags and potential users! Residents are very excited for this new resource as thawing sidewalks start to make a trek to Whole Foods actually realistic. The bags can be signed out for a day and are set up in the lobby. They can be seen as you stroll by uphill, so take a peek! And, if you live in Wren, enjoy the new bags!

signupbags

-Ellen

 

Call for Writers – Connecticut and Boston GreenScene

Connecticut GreenScene and Boston GreenScene, community-based, environmental and sustainability blogging sites, are looking for students interested in becoming writers for their websites. This experience will allow students to understand sustainability in action within their communities and to familiarize themselves with local events or news topics, develop their writing skills and resumes, and learn about different environmental issues. This Call for Writers is for young brains that want to write about environmentally related news and share it with the blogs’ readers. Interested applicants should email editor Riley Johnson at Riley.Emerson.Johnson@gmail.com.

Eco-Reps Update: SoHa Really is SoHawt

by Murvi Babalola

There’s a crazy rumor going around that South Hall is one of the hottest dorms (if not the hottest dorm) on campus. In the past few months that Jesse and I have been Eco-Reps here, I’ve come to the conclusion that if this is, indeed, a fact, it is largely due to the Eco-Reps’ presence in the dorm.

The Eco-Reps have been very active in South Hall these past few days. We revamped our compost facilities, re-launched our FreeCycle campaign, and hosted our Meet-and-Greet for the semester. One of our goals this semester was to keep the compost fresh, and what better way to do that than to put on the face of the Fresh Prince himself? By the end of the month, we plan to have compost bins on every floor with the faces on Will and Carlton on each of them, reminding residents to keep the compost fresh simply by closing the lid.

compost compost

Our Meet-and-Greet was great! We served milk and cookies in some compostable cups left over from our smoothie event last semester. Everyone that came through made a sustainability pledge, committing to perform at least one day-to-day action in a more sustainable way. They put these pledges on paper leaves, which will soon go up on the SoHa Sustain-a-Tree in the lovely eco-nook.

meetandgreet meetandgreet meet and greet

When SoHa residents heard about the Sustainable Selfie Contest, they were only too happy to pose with me, giving their best selfie faces. You saw it here first, folks; this is the start of a beautiful union between South Hall and the Eco-Reps.

selfie Selfie2 selfie selfie

It might be a little early to be talking, but to all the other dorms, WE’RE TAKING THE RECYCLEMANIA PRIZE THIS YEAR!

There’s really nothing cooler than being green.

captain planet

Until next week!

 

-Murvi

Apply to Live in the Tufts Green House Today!

Do you love our beautiful blue-green planet? Do you have a passion for the outdoors or a hankering for increased efficiency indoors? Do you enjoy windowsill gardens and casual kitchen conversations? If you answered YES to these questions… Today’s your lucky day because the application deadline for the Tufts Green House in Latin Way has been extended! The application, which you can fill out online, is open until this Thursday, February 13 at midnight. Take some time to fill it out if you have an interest in living in the house next year. Message the current residents of the Green House at their Facebook page or email them at tuftsgreenhouse@gmail.com with any questions about applications!

Sustainable Selfies Contest!

sustainable.selfies.logoYOU’RE INVITED… TO TAKE SELFIES! 

Who: Tufts University students, staff, and faculty

What: A contest involving selfies, sustainability, and prizes!

When: All semester long!

How: IT’S EASY!  Each week on Monday, we’ll post a prompt on Facebook (“take a picture of yourself negotiating a climate change action treaty” – they’ll be a bit easier than that). Post your selfie to our Facebook page, then encourage your friends, family, colleagues, pets, etc. to like your photo. Whichever photo gets the most likes before the next prompt will win one of our weekly prizes! Plus, whoever takes the photo with the most likes over the course of the semester will win our GRAND PRIZE!

So just to reiterate: snap the selfie, post it to Facebook, accumulate likes, win big!

Why: Prizes! Glory! Plus you’ll learn a ton about sustainability at Tufts and beyond in the meantime.

Some logistics: You need to be in each photo (it’s a selfie!), but feel free to do group pics. Also, you can only win one weekly prize, but make sure to keep participating for the GRAND PRIZE!

GET STARTED NOWLike us on Facebook for the latest info. The first prompt will be up on Monday, February 3rd! Get your polaroids/digital cameras/phones/Google Glasses ready!

Here are some of the prizes at stake:

Spaghetti Scrub

Spaghetti Scrub

Black + Blum lunch box

Black + Blum lunch box

Citrus Zinger

Citrus Zinger