News and Events
Office of Sustainability Events
Office of Sustainability News
When it comes to sustainability, Bentley has raised the bar high.
By setting aggressive goals to reduce its carbon footprint 50 percent by 2015, 70 percent by 2020, and achieve carbon-neutrality by 2030, Bentley is keeping in step with the rest of academia, which collectively has reduced carbon emissions by 25 percent over the past five years. That’s more than any other industry in the United States.
Bentley is following a strategy propelled by a 2010 analysis that found the most effective plan for achieving its goals included projects such as the expansion and continued operation of its energy management system; retro-commissioning buildings; and buying renewable energy. The university installed high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment, energy-efficient windows, and LED lighting on all walkways, roadways and parking lots.
“The LED project alone will save $70,000 per year over five years,” says Amanda King, Bentley’s director of sustainability and special advisor to the president.
Despite the headway Bentley made in reducing its carbon footprint, the university still won’t reach its target reduction goals through energy efficiency alone. The next step is investing in renewable energy by purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs) from Renewable Choice, using the savings realized from the efficiency projects.
Renewable energy certificates are the way industry accounts for renewable energy. They represent the environmental benefits of generating electricity from renewable energy sources. A wind farm, for example, is credited with one REC for every 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity it produces. Each REC has a unique identification number so it isn’t counted twice.
Bentley came in $360,076 under its electricity budget for fiscal year 2012, due to sound energy management and an unseasonably warm winter. It invested $25,000 of that savings — 14 percent — into the certificates, which enabled the university to cut its carbon footprint in half and help increase the amount of U.S. wind power on the electricity grid.
Empathizing with Skepticism about Climate Change - Dr. Simon Keller Speech
Dr. Simon Keller came to speak at Bentley University on November 6, 2012. Dr Keller is currently an associate professor in Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. He is currently an External Faculty Fellow at Rice University.
In his lecture, Dr Keller discussed how people form opinions about scientific matters that they do not fully understand and how this lends itself to skepticism specifically related to the issue of climate change. He also examined how people should respond to those opinions which differ from our own.
To watch the lecture visit: http://ezwp.tv/V27gCQEz
Car-Sharing Comes to Bentley; Furthers Carbon Reduction Efforts
Bentley recently partnered with Zipcar, Inc., the world’s leading car-sharing network, to offer the transportation option to its community. The car-sharing option is now available for students, faculty, and staff ages 18 and older, as well as members of the local community ages 21 and over.
Initially, two Zipcars will be located in the Miller Hall Parking Deck on campus - a Ford Focus and a Toyota Prius. Zipcars are self-service and can be reserved and accessed at the member’s convenience.
“Bentley is excited to welcome Zipcar to campus. Commuting miles represent 16% of Bentley’s carbon footprint and Zipcar allows us to provide our community with an affordable alternative means of transportation,” noted Natalie Berland, manager of sustainability at Bentley. “For those who choose not to use a car to commute to school or work, Zipcar provides the quick availability of a vehicle for situations when a car is really needed, but with a low cost to both the driver and the environment.”
Office of Sustainability works with Sodexo to decrease Styrofoam presence in campus dining
Bentley’s Office of Sustainability has been working closely with Sodexo and the Student Government Association to address the use of Styrofoam in campus retail outlets. Styrofoam has been found to have a negative effect on human health and the environment. According to recent studies, Styrofoam loses weight when in use, indicating that chemicals (mainly styrene & benzene) in the product leak into food and drink. Exposure to styrene and benzene results in various health issues including: fatigue, blood abnormalities and, in some cases, cancer. Styrofoam is not biodegradable or recyclable which means that all Styrofoam containers sit in landfills forever. Furthermore, Styrofoam is extremely light-weight which tends to travel by wind into other areas such as oceans. Sodexo has been working very hard to eliminate the use of Styrofoam in campus retail outlets. Thus far all Sodexo areas are free of Styrofoam to-go containers, opting for paper and plastic instead. Paper products are biodegradable and lack the hazardous chemicals associated with Styrofoam and plastic containers can be recycled. Sodexo has recently worked with Dunkin Donuts, Curritos, and Mein Bowl to make the change to paper as well which further confirms the dining service provider's commitment to sustainability.
Bentley Eco-Reps create “Green Calculator” to measure sustainability in campus organizations
Student organizations and academic departments are being asked to partake in the Eco-Reps' newest project: a “green calculator” which rates organizations on a sustainability scale. The calculator operates on a point system – organizations receive points in various categories for each “green” criterion that is reached. For example – if an organization opts to send out information via e-mail instead of using paper flyers, they receive 5 points. Once the department or club is audited, their points will be tallied out of the total possible points to determine their Green Certification Level. There are three levels of certification; Seed, Sapling, and Tree. Seed ranking is the base ranking and certifies that the club or department is an active participant in the Certification Program. Tree is on the opposite end of the spectrum that shows the organization is making all efforts to operate in a sustainable manner and is actively promoting an eco-friendly lifestyle. Incentives to participate include recognition in the Vanguard, a spot on the Green Certification Board in the Smith stairway, various gift cards and mugs, and of course the knowledge that your organization is a pioneer in eco-friendly operations.
Bentley Ranked Environmentally Responsible by The Princeton Review
Bentley University is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada, according to The Princeton Review. “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges” was created by The Princeton Review alongside with the U.S. Green Building Council (USBGC). The guide was determined through hundreds of surveys with administrators at schools across U.S. and Canada about their school’s sustainability initiatives. Released on April 17, just days prior to the April 22 celebration of Earth Day, the guide has profiles of the colleges that provide application information plus facts, stats, and write-ups reporting on the schools' environmentally related policies, practices and academic offerings. The free guide can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.aspx and www.centerforgreenschools.org/greenguide. Bentley joins the ranks of outstanding universities and colleges nationwide that are leading the “green” movement through their own special programs and initiatives. Bentley University is committed to creating and maintaining a sustainable campus and community. In 2007, the institution signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). In signing this commitment, Bentley has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality (or “climate neutrality”) by 2030 and has already achieved an 8% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and conservation measures. Sustainability practices, both in business and the environment, are infused throughout the Bentley curriculum and are an integral part of the educational experience. To learn more about sustainability at Bentley University, visit www.bentley.edu/offices/sustainability.