In 1987, the United Nations Earth Summit created its definition of sustainability. It is this definition that is most commonly used today. Sustainability is "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own" (United Nation's "Our Common Future" 1987). In order to meet the needs of the future, the Sustainability Office at Massachusetts College of Art and Design is committed to the principles of sustainability and reducing harmful impacts on our environment. Our mission is to seek solutions to environmental problems through fostering working relationships among the entire MassArt community, as well as government agencies of all levels. Our goal is to raise awareness and to enhance knowledge, upgrade technologies, and to expand capabilities to achieve a more sustainable future. In doing so, we are focusing on the following:
- Energy conservation and clean energy practices
- Waste reduction and recycling
- Environmentally preferred procurement
- Toxics use reduction
- Water conservation
- Open space and natural resource protection
Where We Are
In 2007, President Katherine Sloan signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), becoming one of the charter signatories. With President Sloan's enthusiasm and willingness to make MassArt a leader in the sustainable initiative, we have been able to make some very aggressive strides towards a greener campus.
MassArt has fully embraced the concept of incorporating sustainability into our campus. We have made improvements in many areas such as our energy management systems, the recycling program, and the selection of vendors and products. The college has also incorporated green initiatives into the curriculum.
In 2006, the Massachusetts Sustainability Program funded the MassArt green roof pilot project. It is located on the flat roof which is accessible from the eleventh floor of the Tower building. Facilities worked in collaboration with both the architecture program and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to expand the Green Roof Project. In terms of sustainable efforts, we have begun monitoring water retention and temperature differentials between the planted area, the unplanted sections, and the ceiling space directly below. During FY07, the initial pilot project was to cover 250 square feet. With donations from vendors, we built and planted a total of 750 square feet of garden . During FY08, we added an additional 903 square feet, bringing the garden to a total of 1653 square feet. The completed roof was finalized with composite decking. This now covers the majority of the unplanted sections.
As we move forward, we are striving to surpass our previous years' benchmarks. Our primary goal is the conservation of our natural resources, awareness, and the implementation of new energy saving ideas and designs.
MassArt is focusing on establishing the following elements:
- The purchase (or lease) and operation of a fuel cell (400 kW electric/400 kW thermal ) on the campus to provide 55% of the campus electricity and up to 20% of the heating load,
- The purchase of renewable wind electricity through the NSTAR Green program, and
- The use of biofuel in the campus boiler as specifically mandated in EO 484 (3% by 2008 and 10% by 2012).
- Small scale photo voltaic systems on the Kennedy, South, and Tower buildings.
- Small scale wind powered energy generation.
- Water conservation by implementing a grey water treatment system for flushing campus toilets.
Energy Conservation and clean energy practices
Waste Reduction and Recycling
Environmentally preferred procurement
Toxics use reduction
Open space and natural resource protection
Image source: office.sustainability.dal.ca