For the first time ever, the HBS Green Living program coordinated with HBS Operations to offer students a tour of campus energy conservation projects. In 2008 President Faust announced the University’s greenhouse gas reduction (GHG) goal; to reduce GHG emissions 30% below a 2006 baseline by 2016, including growth. HBS has been hard at work and has since achieved a 27% GHG reduction! This behind the scenes tour of campus energy projects gave students insight into how HBS has been reducing their energy consumption and how they plan to continue on this downward trend.

In response to impressive student interest, two tours were offered on Tuesday, December 8. The first stop on the tour was the Shad Atrium, where the group was introduced to the tour leaders, Jason Munro, the HBS Associate Director of Facilities Management and Samantha Monaghan, the Assistant Manager of Sustainability. Jason and Sam then led the group up to the roof of Shad where we saw the green roof (well, we could see some of the 9,000 perennials peeping through the fresh snow). We also learned about Shad’s photovoltaic panels, which provide an annual savings of more than $11,000 and avert 75,000 of carbon dioxide per year.

From the roof we headed down to the basement where we saw (and heard!) Shad’s co-generation unit. The co-gen unit produces electricity and uses the thermal energy (that would otherwise be lost as waste heat) to produce Shad’s domestic hot water (showers, laundry) year round and a portion of the hot water used for heating in the winter. The unit saves HBS $51,566 and 1 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

We then traversed through the tunnels, beyond the student mailroom, and ended up at the HBS Chilled Water Plant. Here we learned about how HBS has tightened the HVAC schedule and implemented new protocols that, with the help of the highly technical Environmental Monitoring System software, have helped contribute significantly to HBS’ 27% GHG reduction.

The Green Living Program and HBS Operations will be offering tours again in the spring semester. They are sure to be very educational if you are considering a career in cleantech/sustainability or if you are simply interested in learning about some of the green technologies that are right in our backyard.