Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Muggles in Potter Hall

We launched the Green Office Challenge at Lasell College last week. Faculty and staff working in Potter, Bancroft, Klingbeil, and Plummer are competing to demonstrate they are the greenest office on campus. Electricity, waste, recycling, and vehicle miles traveled were estimated during the baseline period last week. We will measure these areas again in April during the competition week and look for the greatest improvement. Students in my Environmental Science Class (ENV211) are working with office occupants to help them identify how to reduce their environmental impact.

The contest has piqued the interest of many faculty and staff members. Member of Klingbeil have been plotting how to win this contest. I've heard some of thier ideas such as telecommuting during the contest week. Hopefully some ideas will emerge from this contest that are sustainable.

The baseline data is very interesting to examine. Potter Hall, home to many college administrative offices, has the lowest recycling rate. During the baseline week only 20% of their waste was recycled. Plummer was not much better as they only recycled 32% of their waste. However Plummer does deserve credit for minimizing waste and only producing 38 lbs of waste for the week compared to 70, 78, and 91 lbs in Potter, Bancroft, and Kleinbeil, respectively. Bancroft had the highest recycling rate as 69% of their waste was recycled. Klingbeil was close at 62%.

Potter and Bancroft are two good buildings to compare. They produced about the same amount of waste for the week but Bancroft had a much higher recycling rate. What was different in these buildings? I don't have the answer yet but I will certainly have my students find out. Maybe Potter Hall occupants need to be educated about recycling more? Maybe recycling bins are missing or hidden in Potter? Maybe these employees feel less of an obligation to recycle?

Hopefully just highlighting their inadequate recycling rate compared to other campus offices will motivate Potter Hall to figure out how to get the job done. I am looking forward to seeing how the Green Office Challenge plays out. I really hope to see some creativity and improvements.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess the students involved in researching data for the Green Office Challenge are having fun being involved in a 'real' project. One thing that annoys me is people leaving trash in the recycling waste baskets. Perhaps putting larger trash cans in individual classroom might be an effective move. Maybe making them red (if there is such a thing) would make it perfectly clear which is trash and which is recycling. Helen