Sustainability at Tufts

Tag: climate (page 2 of 3)

May 1 deadline: Climate Counts i2 Challenge Competition

Pop Quiz: What do the following companies all have in common?

*   Amtrak
*   Annie’s Homegrown
*   Ben & Jerry’s
*   ClifBar
*   Kohl’s
*   Levi’s
*   REI
*   Shaklee
*   Timberland

Answer:  These companies are all members of the Climate Counts Industry Innovators (i2) program.   i2 companies support Climate Counts mission of educating consumers while holding themselves to the highest standard of climate leadership.

As a way of saying thanks to these companies, the winner of our Climate Counts i2 Challenge will win a $50 gift card to the i2 company of their choice.

How do you win?
Simple: email us a picture of a time you supported an i2 company.  It could be a photo of you atop a mountain decked out in REI gear, a shot of your friends boarding the Amtrak to see the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., or perhaps your neighbors enjoying a refreshing cone of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.  The person with the coolest picture (as judged by your peers) wins!

You can send pictures with a brief explanation to us at with “Climate Counts i2 Challenge” in the subject line.  All photos will be compiled and added to our  Facebook page and  blog, with judging to be completed by May 7, 2012.

Deadline for submissions is Tuesday May 1, 2012.

The winner will received one $50 gift card to the i2 company of choice.   If you’re one of the top 5 pictures we pick, we’ll send you a FREE Climate Counts t-shirt to show our appreciation!

Jan 21-29: Brookline Climate Week 2012

This year’s climate week offers over 40 events and displays across town from Larz Anderson Park to Brookline Village. Please join us to celebrate where we live, what artists and experts have to say, and ways to take local climate action.

This year features eco arts and science displays in a Climate Week Winter Walk along Harvard Street from Brookline Village to Coolidge Corner. Professional artists, businesses, non-profits and Brookline students offer their creativity and vision for the future.

Events include ways to learn about the clean, green economy and investments, powering our homes more efficiently, local produce and provisions at Brookline’s first Winter Marketplace and much more . Check out the complete schedule at their web site.

Feb 10-12: C2C Fellows Southeast Workshop (Athens, GA)

C2C Fellows is a national network for undergraduates and recent graduates aspiring to sustainability leadership in politics and business. C2C Fellows engages 300 students each year in intensive, weekend leadership trainings.

Southeast Workshop
February 10th – 12th, 2012
University of Georgia, Athens, GA

The registration fee for the weekend is $30, and includes food and lodging. Students can often apply for funding to their student governments or activity boards. Scholarships are also available.

Deadline for Southeast Workshop at University of Georgia: February 1st

Upon graduation from the workshops, students join the C2C Fellows Network. The network, based at the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, provides C2C Fellows with an ongoing community: updates, web-based events, career counseling, a social network of like-minded leaders, and ongoing “second-stage” educational opportunities. C2C Fellows are also eligible to apply to become C2C Scholars—funded graduate school students in our M.S. in climate science and policy, in Bard’s M.B.A. in Sustainability; or the dual degree program M.S./M.B.A.

C2C stands for Campus to Congress, to Capitol, to City Hall, and also for Campus to Corporation. C2C stands for young people gaining control of their future. C2C Fellows is the power network for young people with the wisdom, ambition, talent, and grace to change the future.

Read about C2C Fellows and leading for a sustainable future in Grist!

$1,000 C2C Follow-On Scholarships
We are pleased to announce that two graduates of our 2011-12 workshops will receive $1,000 scholarships to attend follow-on, multi-day leadership trainings. The first, through Starting Bloc, is focused on how to start a green business. The second, through Wellstone Action, walks you through how to run your own political campaign.

In April 2012, C2C will establish an application process for these two incredible opportunities!

National Climate Seminar – Spring schedule

Join the National Climate Seminar by dialing in at 12:00pm eastern on the scheduled day. Call-in number: 1-712-432-3100; Conference Code: 253385.

Listen in real time to climate and clean energy specialists talk about the latest science, policy, law, and economics of climate change. Assign these half-hour calls to your students for a chance to hear top scientists, analysts and political leaders discuss climate and clean energy solutions. Send us your questions, prior to each call, by emailing All calls are also available as podcasts.

Feb. 1  Jon Shenk, Filmmaker, Actual Films

The Island President: Climate Story-telling

Feb. 14  Anthony Leiserowitz, Director,Yale Project on Climate Change Communication

Six Americas: Communication on Climate

Mar. 7  Billy Parishauthor and founder, Solar Mosaic

Climate Careers: Finding Meaning, Money and Community

Mar. 21  Auden SchendlerVP for Sustainability, Aspen Skiing Company

Getting Green Done: Sustainability Work on the Front Lines

Apr. 4  Paul ComeyVP of Environmental Affairs, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

The Climate for Coffee

Apr. 18  Cynthia RosenzweigDirector, Climate Impacts Group, NASA Goddard Institute

Climate and Food Supply

May. 2  Jihan GearonDirector, Black Mesa Coalition

Carbon Supply Chain: Black Mesa and Beyond

Emissions to decrease as Central Heating Plant switches to natural gas

On a quiet Friday last month when the campus was mostly deserted for Veterans Day, Tufts Facilities shut down the Central Heating Plant located between Dowling and East Halls to have the chimney cleaned. No, it was not to help Santa stay soot- free this Christmas – it was the final step in getting the gas turned on for the winter.

New (yellow) gas lines were installed at the Central Heating Plant this past fall

The plant began using natural gas as its main fuel on November 30 and significantly lightened Tufts’ carbon footprint in Medford. CO2 emissions in FY 2012 in the Medford campus are estimated to decrease by 8% from FY 2011 levels despite a projected increase in energy consumption by 7.8%.

According to Tufts’ Director of Facilities Technical Services Betsy Isenstein, the transition is the result of “a fortunate confluence of events”.

Unbeknownst to most people who live and work on the Tufts Medford campus, the central heating plant was forced to switch fuels in the middle of last winter from burning No. 6 to No. 2 fuel oil because of a shipment of substandard No. 6 fuel that could not be used. No. 6 fuel oil (also known “bunker C” or residual fuel oil) is the heaviest, thickest, cheapest, and – not surprisingly – the dirtiest of six available grades of fuel oil in the US.

One of two updated boilers

Shortly afterwards, a routine inspection led to the discovery of issues with two of the fuel tanks outside the central heating plant and prompted the university to move up scheduled upgrades for two boilers that were installed in the 80s. The upgraded boilers are not only more efficient, but they have the ability to burn both natural gas and No. 2 fuel oil.

With the price of natural gas at a historic low, the fuel switch made economic as well as environmental sense. National Grid installed a new gas line from Boston Avenue up to Central Heating Plant and upgraded 1,100 feet of gas main along Boston Avenue last summer in order to bring the amount of natural gas needed up the hill to supply the central heating plant.

The new yellow gas lines look very sharp next to old fuel piping which will be replaced in the near future. #2 fuel will be maintained as a backup.

Natural gas is the cleanest of fuels commonly used for residential and commercial space heating. Switching from No. 6 fuel oil to No. 2 last winter already reduced CO2 emissions by about 7%,  switching from No. 6 to natural gas reduces CO2 emissions by about 30%,  sulfur dioxide (SO2) by over 99%, nitrous oxides (NOx) by about 75% and particulate matter (PM2.5) by about 96%.[1]

In contrast, No. 6 fuel oil comes from the “bottom of the barrel”. It is the sludge that remains after removal of distillates such as gasoline so it has a higher concentration of metals than other oil. Burning No. 6 fuel oil produces darker smoke and higher CO2 emissions than other types of fuel, and “sludge-burning” boilers have been identified as contributors to increased air pollution and consequently, a higher incidence of respiratory problems.

The retrofitted system provides state-of-the-art boiler controls.

The transition has been smooth so far, according to Isenstein. Next spring, fuel storage will be replaced to better handle No. 2 fuel, which will only be used as a backup in case the gas supply fails. A third fuel tank installed in the late ‘50s will no longer be needed, so it will be removed next year and possibly replaced. The central plant heats almost every Tufts building on the hill between Professors Row and part of Boston Avenue. Three smaller plants and a number of stand alone boilers heat the rest of the Medford campus.

The fuel switch at the Central Heating Plant was a big win in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a single initiative, but given recent reports that 2010 was a record year for C02 emissions, there is still plenty of work to be done. Do your part by living sustainably and remember that all journeys begin with small steps. You can download the Green Guide to Living and Working at Tufts or visit the Office of Sustainability website to see how you can get involved in making the world a greener place.

[1] The Bottom of the Barrel: How the dirtiest heating oil pollutes our air and harms our health. M.J. Bradley & Associates LLC and the Urban Green Council for EDF, Dec 2009.

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