campuscenternightThere’s a good reason why Smith’s Class of 1961 uses the symbol of a tree for their logo for their upcoming 50th reunion, with the tagline “Gold, Green, Global.”

Nearly three years ago, the class decided to support sustainability at Smith by focusing on five areas in which their reunion class gift could help improve the sustainability of Campus Center operations. Working with Dano Weisbord, Smith’s first director of environmental sustainability, and his successor, Deirdre Manning, a phased list of projects was developed with a goal of $150,000 above and beyond the class five-year Smith Fund goal of $1.75 million.

The committee’s co-chairs, Nancy Eaton Smart and Sherrie Stephens Cutler, were joined by Sally Haines Dudley, Louise Bartlett Franklin, Katherine Dyer Garcia, Ann Peck Hooke, Mandy Loutrel, Alice Arnott Oppen, and Joan Callaway Pratt. Together, they comprise a “Green Team” that has worked to reduce the college’s carbon footprint. The goals for their gift are:

  • Reducing energy consumption by installing light sensors and programming controls to maximize use of natural light and automatically adjust the building’s light levels to meet varying conditions.
  • Purchasing and installing meters and a large-screen monitor to track and display energy and other resource use in the building via real-time dashboards. Like the graphic displays of gas mileage, seeing resource use makes people more aware of their habits.
  • Purchasing and installing carefully sited and aesthetically pleasing bike racks to encourage the use of pedal power on campus—and beyond.
  • Significantly reducing the amount of disposables by purchasing commercial dishwashers to enable use of durable dishware, and increase storage capacity for non-disposables.
  • Providing high-quality, instructive recycling containers to improve recycling rates on campus.

The college has moved forward on each of these areas. An architect has proposed redesigns for retrofitting the Campus Center Café’s work areas; a dashboard software and format to reflect real-time data has been selected; metering has been installed and is collecting data; a bike rack design has been approved and sites are being tested. An electrical contractor is installing “daylight harvesting” light controls in three locations in ceilings on each of the upper floors of the Campus Center. The sensors will allow control of motorized lighting circuits based on light levels, independent of the time clock controls.

This retrofit to use daylight is expected to save 29,300 kWh per year, worth about $4,000. Metering buildings brings behavioral changes that cannot be as easily quantified but provide the basis for further education and ultimate savings.

During Reunion, both scheduled and self-guided tours of the Campus center will be offered so that alumnae can see the results of one class’s determination to address a global issue by supporting sustainability at their alma mater.