A Greener Campus

Elisabeth Nicula
April 30, 2009
Berklee's energy use has decreased by a third since 2006.

Guided by an energy consultant, Berklee has added automatic controls for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment, updated lighting systems, and installed more efficient appliances, such as washers and dryers for the dorms. John Eldert, vice president for administration, and Kevin Anderson, director of physical plant, headed up these ongoing efforts to modernize the business model for facilities management and to improve Berklee's carbon footprint. The college has reduced yearly energy usage by a third since the upgrades began in 2006.

This annual reduction is comparable to 252,768 gallons of gasoline and decreases the college's carbon dioxide emissions by 1,679 tons—the equivalent of removing 279 passenger vehicles from the road for a year.

The improvements also save the college over $400,000 a year in energy costs, savings that are especially welcome when Berklee is directing more funding than ever to student financial aid. As a steward for Berklee's resources, Eldert says it is "immoral to waste energy needlessly, when the college has better things to do than to evaporate money into the air."

The college has found other ways to go green. David Kusek, vice president for Berklee Media, leads the sustainability committee, which takes a broad look at the college's policies and decisions to ensure that Berklee considers their environmental impact. Berklee recycles three tons of office paper every month and has also shortened campus publications and limited print runs in favor of reprinting when necessary. To encourage more students, faculty, and staff members to commute by bike, additional bicycle racks have been installed. In offices around campus, more efficient combination machines replaced older printers, copiers, and fax machines, and Aramark janitorial services have switched to Green Seal-certified cleaning supplies and recycled paper products.

The student body is also in on the act. The Student Government Association planned a Berklee Green Week to coincide with Earth Day. The Green Week Get Down Concert at Cafe 939 was the main event, where environmentally minded student, faculty, and staff acts performed, and local vendors and nonprofits with a focus on sustainability were on hand. Service opportunities, speakers on topics such as green touring, and a forum discussion on Berklee's sustainability initiatives rounded out the week's events.