Tag Archives: facilities

Sustainability Outreach Assistant, Bowdoin College

This position assists the Coordinator for a Sustainable Bowdoin in the Department of Facilities Management and is responsible for grant writing in the area of sustainability and energy efficiency. This position includes recruiting, coordinating, and training students in the student “EcoRep” program and the office “EcoRep” program; assisting the Coordinator in other student led-initiatives, assisting in communications of Bowdoin’s sustainability initiatives and Carbon Neutrality Plan, updating the College’s environmental/sustainability databases and the sustainability website as well as verifying and reporting the effectiveness of these programs in reducing carbon emissions and associated cost reductions. The Sustainability Outreach position also staffs the College’s Sustainability Implementation Committee.

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Sustainability Coordinator, Outreach and Engagement, University of Virginia

Application deadline: April 15, 2014

The Sustainability Coordinator – Outreach and Engagement, is a core member of the University of Virginia’s Office for Sustainability and will assist in leading the Facilities Management department in providing outreach and engagement for sustainability to support the educational, research, health care and public service mission of the University. This position engages students, faculty, and staff in University-wide sustainability initiatives through support of behavior change and educational programs, such as the Green Workplace Program and Sustainability Partners.

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Sustainability Manager, University of Virginia

DEADLINE: March 3, 2014

The Sustainability Program Manager is a core member of the University of Virginia’s Office for Sustainability and assists leading the Facilities Management department in providing, and advocating for, sustainable design and operations to support the educational, research, health care and public service mission of the University.

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Communities benefit from Tufts Computer Donation Program

Tufts Community Relations (TCR) has been working with University Information Technology (UIT) for several years to donate computers to community agencies and schools.

The Tufts Computer Donation Program collects, cleans up and donates Tufts-owned computers that are less than five years old to the Grafton, Boston, and Medford/Somerville communities. Older computers are recycled via Tufts’ long-standing recycling program. Before donation, all computer hard drives are wiped and their operating systems  reinstalled. UIT then provides a list of available computers to TCR to identify organizations that would benefit from a donation.

Medford/Somerville faculty and staff with old computers to donate should go to Facilities’ website and ask to schedule a time for them to pick-up your old computer. If you work in Boston or Grafton, email computers4community@tufts.edu.   For more details, visit UIT’s website.

 


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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