By Celis Brisbin, Programs Manager
On October 7, 2015, a green team consisting of law students at Suffolk University Law School completed an energy efficiency audit and presented the findings to fellow students and faculty. The purpose of this project was to improve our school's energy consumption and to lessen the negative impacts we have on our environment. This project was geared towards completing an audit and strategizing ways in which the students are able to continue the efforts or create new efforts to reduce energy consumption and energy waste in the school, particularly in the law school building, Sargent Hall at 120 Tremont Street. Through this process, we discovered how our school has already taken steps to improve energy efficiency and we identified numerous options for further reducing energy consumption. The audit helped to raise awareness amongst our student body, educate our students on the energy efficiency efforts made within our school, and encourage more students to become involved in an energy solution.
The energy audit project started off with leaders of the APALSA, ELS, and Sustainability Committee interested in discovering any energy efficiency efforts made by the school in the past. With the support of our Dean of Students Office, we were able to research and gather information and statistics from various departments within the university. In recent years, Suffolk Law School has embarked on several building sustainability projects over the past five years in Sargent Hall, including changing all bulbs in the building to environmentally sustainable light bulbs and installing shutoff sensors in stairwells and restrooms so the lights shutoff when the area has no movement of body heat. Sargent Hall also has a water conservation system and filtered water bottle filling stations on each floor, along with gifting reusable water bottles for the incoming students each year. Last year, Suffolk initiated ‘Operation Papercut’ in order to cut down on the voluminous amounts of paper used in law school classes. Approximately three years ago, Suffolk performed a solar panel audit to determine the benefits to installing photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, however the school reasoned this would not be cost effective.
At the closing of our presentation, all participants took the Green Classroom Pledge and signed the pledge, which will be posted in the student common area throughout the month! This Green Apple Day of Service was an exciting day for our green team, as well as our students to get our heads out of our books and to look around us; the beautiful green trees in the Boston Commons, the blue skies above the State House, and the fresh air walking through the historical Freedom Trail. However, thanks to the US Green Building Council- Mass Chapter and National Grid for their generous sponsorship, we were able to take action necessary to strengthen our awareness and education about our energy consumption and energy efficiency behaviors within a building we spend majority of our time in. We are determined to continue our efforts to reduce more energy waste in our daily habits, and also to take bigger steps to ensure that SULS is protecting our precious environment around us.