Posts Tagged “Environmentalism”
Lisa Heinzerling, the Environmental Protection Agency’s associate policy administrator, will step down at the end of the year and return her teaching position at Georgetown Law.
As one of the EPA’s strongest supporters of greenhouse gas regulation, Heinzerling previously worked as EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson‘s senior attorney for climate policy. She is gained popularity in environmental circles after authoring the winning petitioners in Massachusetts v. EPA, the 2007 Supreme Court case that allowed Congress to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.
Heinzerling, who began working as a Georgetown University Law professor in 1993, took a two-year leave of absence to join the EPA in 2009. She previously served as the Assistant Attorney General of Massachusetts.
Photo: Georgetown Law
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The three Georgetown grads who founded Sweetgreen, Nicolas Jammet (MSB ’07), Nathaniel Ru (MSB ’07), and Jonathan Neman (MSB ’07), have been named three of the “40 Big Thinkers 40 & Under” in the November issue of Food & Wine.
The trio of “eco salad chain founders,” numbers 34, 35, and 36 on the list, were praised their commitment to eco-friendly service, products, and financial backing from other environmentally-conscious investors, such as Stonyfield Farm founder Gary Hirshberg.
Sweetgreen’s commitment to sustainability is no accident. Jammet, Ru, and Neman began planning a cheap, healthy, and practical alternative to Georgetown dining during the senior year.
Today, the restaurant they opened less then three months after graduating reflects that same eco-friendly philosophy. Sweetgreen composts waste, buys from local farmers, uses low-energy designs and compostable packaging, has plantable takeout menus, and furnishes its locations with furniture made from reclaimed materials.
Yeah, you can’t get much greener than that.
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As expected, the Rafik B. Hariri Building has been awarded LEED certification for its environmentally-friendly features. Georgetown applied for LEED Certification, which is awarded to buildings that are sustainable, and water, energy, resource, and material efficient, during the fall semester.
LEED certification is awarded by the U. S. Green Building Council, a non-profit organization which bills the award as the “nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings,” but LEED certification has been criticized for similarly weighting expensive green features with large environmental impacts and inexpensive projects with minimal impact.
According to a press release from the Georgetown McDonough School of Business, the following are some of the features that the LEED certification recognized:
“• An expected energy savings of 15 percent through efficient lighting design and controls
• A 41 percent water use reduction through use of ultra low flow fixtures and dual-flush water closets
• Water-efficient landscaping
• Building materials that contain recycled content and were manufactured locally
• More than half of the construction waste – 800 tons – was recycled and re-used
• Bicycle storage facilities, proximity to public transportation, and several preferred parking spaces for hybrid and electric vehicles
• Low-emitting paints, adhesives, sealants and carpeting
• Manufacturing 25 percent of the total building materials using recycled materials
• Local products, in that nearly 31 percent of the total building materials were extracted, harvested, or recovered, as well as manufactured, within 500 miles of the project site.”
“From the fluidized bed coal boiler in 1979, to the solar panels we installed on the Bunn Intercultural Center in 1982, to our fuel cell buses, Georgetown has long been green,” President John DeGioia said of the award. “We’ve done so because of a dedication to the principle of sustainability.”
The University has committed getting LEED certification for all of its new structures.
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In January, Project Hilltop and the Campus Sustainability Advisory Board conducted a ‘sustainability survey’ among students that looked to quantify what Georgetown students think and do about conservation on campus. Vox has the report, which compiled the results of 645 student responses, and we’ve summarized it below.
What do we want to see Georgetown doing?
Transparency was a big issue for students who responded to this survey. “Overwhelmingly, students want to know, ‘What is Georgetown doing?’” the report on the survey results said students asked in the free-response section.
Students also consistently brought up Leo’s, asking that the University reduce food waste, offer a more varied menu, more information on preservatives used in food, and the elimination of non-biodegradable disposables. “Students also ask[ed] about workers’ conditions and ask that lights be turned off when Leo’s is not in use,” the report said.
Some called for more recycling bins and education, and asked that the University focus more on waste reduction than recycling. Students complained of leaking sinks, faucets, and showers in residence halls, and extreme temperatures in dorms and classrooms. Some wanted to see easier and better transportation efforts, such as buses to basketball games.
Read the rest of this entry »
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As part of Georgetown’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint by 50 percent by 2020, the University has begun using bio diesel to fuel the GUTS buses and other university vehicles. In a University press release, Vice President for Facilities and Student Housing Karen Frank explained that the fuel reduces carbon emissions at low cost to the University, since engines do not have to be converted to run on the fuel.
The fuel is 80 percent diesel petroleum and 20 percent biodiesel. While that may seem like a small percentage, it has contributed to the 17 percent reduction in emissions over the past three years. And that’s not all the University has been doing—those nifty Jesuit golf carts are electric vehicles, and the Outdoor Education program has a van that runs entirely on vegetable oil collected from local restaurants.
Props to Georgetown for getting serious about carbon emission reduction—now howsabout getting rid of those Styrofoam containers in Leo’s?
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The holidays never come too soon for Georgetown alum Julie Littell. In December of 2007, Littell realized that her passion for decorating gifts unnecessarily conflicted with her love of the environment. So, she began Earth Presents—a company that sells eco-friendly gift wrap.
The wrapping paper sold by Earth Presents is made from 100 percent recycled products, and the inks used for the designs are all vegetable-based. They also sell gift tags, ribbons, and bows that are packaged in 100% recycled content. The company also gives children from the D.C. area an opportunity to provide the artistic inspiration for the designs featured on the gift wrap.
This year Earth Presents donated wrapping paper to Georgetown’s EcoAction. They will be selling the gift wrap for charity in Red Square to help promote a recyclable and Earth-friendly holiday season.
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The Aspen Institute recently released its biannual “Beyond Grey Pinstripes” ranking of business schools that do the best job of integrating social and environmental issues into their curriculum, and Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business came in a very respectable 35th.
The ranking is a significant improvement from our 2007 showing, when we came in 73rd. In 2005, the first year the Aspen Institute ranked business schools, we were 30th.
The rankings are based on four factors: how many courses that involve social, environmental or ethical concerns are offered; how much class time is spent on these issues; how many courses demonstrate the intersection of social or environmental issues with for-profit business; and how much faculty research is on social, environmental or ethical issues.
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Dear LXR, this actually shouldn’t be your energy use model
You may not be aware of it since, as the Voice‘s Editorial Board pointed out in this week’s issue, the University hasn’t done a great job of publicizing it, but Georgetown is in the midst of Switch It Off, an inter-dorm energy use reduction competition.
Each residence hall is now competing against each other to see which can reduce its energy consumption by the highest percentage as compared to how much energy was used in the residence hall last year. There will be a prize awarded to the dorm that reduces its energy the most, but the University hasn’t yet said what exactly that will be.
Village A is currently in the lead, with a reduction in energy use of 13.1 percent from the previous school year. Six of the nine dorms have a net decrease in energy use over last year, but three have actally increased their energy use. LXR is the big offender, with a whopping energy use increase of 18.1 percent.
Here are the full rankings:
- Village A: -13.1%
- Village C: -8.4%
- SWQ: -7.6%
- New South: -6.1%
- Harbin: -3.0%
- Copley: -0.2%
- Henle: +0.6%
- Darnall: +4.1%
- LXR: +18.1%
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The Sustainable Endowments Institute just released its 2010 College Sustainability Report Card, and while Georgetown is still in the B range, we’re making some improvements. This year we received an overall grade of B, up from the B- we received for the past two years and the C+ we received in 2007.
Georgetown’s biggest gains came in the areas of Climate Change & Energy and Shareholder Engagement.
For Climate Change & Energy, where Georgetown jumped up to an A from last year’s C, the College Sustainability Report Card praised us for decreasing our carbon emissions by 12 percent between 2006 and 2008. We also got plaudits for installing monitors in dorms that display real-time energy use per resident.
In terms of Shareholder Engagement, where we also now have an A rather than a C, we got good marks for involving students, faculty and staff in the decision-making process, not just administrators and trustees as had previously been the case.
We also inched up in terms of Endowment Transparency, earning a D this year, rather than the F we received for the previous three years, thanks to a slight liberalization of the University’s policy on disclosing endowment decisions.
The only area where Georgetown’s grades suffered this year was Transportation. While we’d previously earned a B in that category, this year we came away with a C.
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Greenopia USA recently released green rankings for universities, and Georgetown didn’t come out looking so great. The rankings are given out on a scale of four leaves, and Georgetown received just one lone leaf.
That means we met less than 50 percent of their criteria for environmental reporting, green building design, waste programs, renewable energy, green food options, alternative fuel vehicles and water conservation.
Greenopia did give us points for requiring LEED Silver designation for all new construction, exceeding the average for waste diversion, and using a large amount of solar energy.
Out big black mark? Environmental reporting and transparency:
Georgetown could certainly benefit from some additional reporting. Simply put, Georgetown had some of the worst reporting we came across and this is unacceptable …
Georgetown has some environmental reporting (although not much), but has yet to take part in the ACUPPCC’s challenge for reporting/transparency.
As unsettling as our evaluation is, other local schools didn’t do much better. American also came away with one leaf, getting knocked for poor reporting, as well. Howard didn’t get any stars, just a scathing indictment of their lack of environmental action. George Washington, Catholic and Gallaudet weren’t included in the rankings.
Via Renewable Energy Turns Me On.
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