Articles

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Beyond the pandemic: how resilience planning and energy efficiency can help us mitigate climate change now

Wildfires, hurricanes, floods, heat waves, drought, and other severe weather conditions have made life more difficult in nearly every corner of the United States. What can we do now to protect ourselves from the elements during a pandemic?

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Left out in the cold: how the change in seasons can lead to runaway energy bills during the pandemic

COVID-era building operations have included suggestions such as increasing filtration or ventilation rates “as much as systems will allow.” But as the colder weather approaches, how will facilities manage energy use—and costs?

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ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager now easier for campus-wide data collection and benchmarking

The U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® provides a platform for benchmarking the energy performance of all kinds of commercial buildings. Energy managers on college campuses, however, often face a challenge in both accurately metering energy at the building level and categorizing buildings under the Portfolio Manager framework of use types. Now the new Higher Education Benchmarking Initiative seeks to collect campus-wide data from colleges and universities across North America—and offer energy scorecards in return.

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Safe behaviors during covid: how behavior change principles may help get campus occupants through a pandemic

Sustainability and facilities professionals are uniquely positioned to lead campus efforts to encourage safe behaviors among campus occupants during this pandemic. What is your plan to keep students, staff, and faculty engaged in prolonged physical distancing and other measures to prevent coronavirus surges?

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Is your campus ready for students to return?

The coronavirus pandemic is the largest global health crisis of the past century. The American death toll hit a terrifying 100,000 milestone on May 27, 2020. While the curve is gradually flattening and businesses are reopening, history shows that resurgences can create new waves of outbreaks, leading to more periods of shutdown and delayed economic recovery. What can schools do to prevent the spread of coronavirus via HVAC maintenance and behavior change initiatives?

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Moving a glacier in sixteen parts: lessons from GreenerU’s own strategic plan process (Part II of II)

Strategic plans do a great job of helping organizations gain alignment and focus on common outcomes. But one of the trickiest parts about developing a plan is actually implementing it. Here at GreenerU, we put ourselves to the test. This is Part II of a two-part article.

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First GreenerMass contract signed to provide energy savings to William James College with no upfront costs

GreenerU to replace an obsolete energy management system for the Newton-based private school for undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology

Program funds still available for Massachusetts nonprofit institutions

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Campus facilities and coronavirus: how to prevent water and ventilation issues in unoccupied buildings

Coronavirus has left buildings on campus vacant in places that were designed to be operating 24/7. When spring turns to summer and heat and humidity kick in, do you have a transition plan to prevent maintenance issues on campus? Are you staying ahead of potential health hazards associated with stagnant water?

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The show (or meeting) must go on: group productivity in the age of a pandemic

Social distancing in the wake of COVID-19 does not mean we can’t still connect. Here are the best ways to make use of remote conferencing.

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Moving a glacier in sixteen parts: lessons from GreenerU’s own strategic plan process (Part I of II)

Strategic plans do a great job of helping organizations gain alignment and focus on common outcomes. But one of the trickiest parts about developing a plan is actually implementing it. Here at GreenerU, we put ourselves to the test. This is Part I of a two-part article.

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GreenerU helps the MSPCA claim the state’s first alternative energy certificates for large air-source heat pumps

Thanks to help from GreenerU, the MSPCA’s Angell Medical Center in Jamaica Plain is set to receive the first alternative energy certificates for a large air-source heat pump system—one of several ways energy-efficient technologies are sound financial investments. Maybe now is a good time for your school to make the switch.

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They’re not unicorns! Five tips for productive meetings

Whether you have skin in the game or able to play a neutral role, as facilitator, you are there to help guide the room from Point A to Points B, C, and D. You are in charge of keeping the momentum going, ensuring you have created an inclusive agenda, and helping your group meet their goals. So, what do you, as facilitator, do to ensure your meetings are productive?

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System change, not climate change: how K-12 schools are addressing sustainability for a generation of climate activists

Nearly 4 million people participated in worldwide climate strikes last September, in solidarity with 17-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who made the trek to New York City across the Atlantic by boat. It’s no coincidence that teenagers are some of the most engaged climate activists today. How are their schools rising to the challenge?

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Energy inefficiency is not just for heating systems: investigating why our brains lose steam at work

Campus operators know when a heating system is inefficient. But what happens when we humans are inefficient? Here are four ways to address productivity challenges in the workplace.

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Massachusetts State House considers building performance standards legislation

Massachusetts may enact the first state-wide legislation requiring that buildings comply with minimum energy performance standards. Find out if your institution's buildings are affected.

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STARS v. 2.2 is here, and our network of experienced reporters have some good advice to share

The much-anticipated new version of STARS—Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System—has launched, and there are some new opportunities for points by reviewing the data before submitting to AASHE. A panel discussion at the AASHE conference in Spokane that GreenerU moderated helped participants figure out how to tackle one of the most important tools available for measuring sustainability on college campuses.

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PRESS RELEASE: GreenerMass launches to offer energy savings with no upfront costs

AICUM and GreenerU launch GreenerMass, a finance program for schools, health centers, and other nonprofits to kickstart savings from energy-efficiency measures requiring no upfront capital costs. Past program participants are saving upwards of $100,000 annually on energy costs following payback period. Here's how to find out if your institution is eligible.

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Conference excitement—or anxiety? How to maximize your experience of large-group settings

Does the word “networking” boost your energy level? Or does it give you social anxiety? When it comes to large conferences, people’s comfort levels with socializing can vary. No matter where you land on the conference trepidation scale, we have a few tips to help you get the most out of AASHE—and any other networking events you might have on your calendar.

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Wiping out institutional zombies: how ECU is implementing its sustainability plan with soul

Many campus sustainability offices are challenged with the urgency of climate change against the pace of academia. So why are so many sustainability efforts still trapped in meetings that resemble the undead?

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Act like ants, save the planet

Large-scale sustainability action doesn’t happen by accident. It takes collective action and organized effort to make an impact.

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The limitations of privilege: how diversity, equity, and inclusion are crucial to solving the challenges of climate change

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) doesn’t just happen. It has to be intentional. It has to be embedded. It has to be given space to thrive. But without actively embedding it in our day-to-day interactions, we won’t be able to solve the sustainability challenges we face.

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Which energy-efficiency project incentive(s) should you apply for? Let GreenerU help you figure it out

Rebates for energy-efficiency projects can be just the financial boost schools need to take them on. But discerning which ones will yield the greatest savings—not to mention which projects will have the best return on your investment—can be time-consuming, confusing, and downright frustrating.

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We’ve joined Con Edison’s Participating Contractor network.

GreenerU has recently partnered with utility company Con Edison to offer custom energy savings solutions through electric and gas discounts at colleges, universities, and independent schools in conEd's service area.

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New York City’s Climate Mobilization Act: How does it affect schools?

The City's ambitious effort to fight climate change includes incremental emissions reduction mandates. Strategies and utility incentives are available to help educational institutions meet targets for 2024, 2030, and beyond.

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It’s 2050, and we stopped climate change—but not without changing minds and behavior, too

Navigating social disruption is the bulk of my work—and very likely a major component of the work some of you do on your campus, too.

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