Throughout its operations, HBS is focused on the environment and sustainability. Notable innovations, continuous improvement, and recognition from beyond the School testify to the depth of this commitment.
HBS tracks its progress toward sustainability across four broad areas—energy conservation, waste management, gaining LEED Gold certification for facilities, and the Green Living Program, which encompasses sustainability-oriented behavioral changes among members of the community. Through this process, the School is meeting and often exceeding the ambitious conservation goals that Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust has set for the entire University.
A particular highlight for fiscal 2010 was LEED certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council. HBS follows LEED guidelines for all new construction and major renovations. During the year, the School received its first off-site Gold certification for the construction of the Harvard Center Shanghai, and it surpassed the Gold standard with Platinum certification for the renovation of McCulloch Hall, a student residence.
The School’s Operations Department was honored by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino with a 2010 City of Boston Green Business Award, primarily in recognition of the multiple green technologies in use at Shad Hall. Mayor Menino cited HBS and the other recipients by saluting their efforts as “an outstanding example of the leadership necessary to advance Boston’s sustainability goals and continue to grow our green economy.” This was the second accolade of the year for the HBS Operations Department, which also received a Harvard University Green Carpet Award for its chilled water plant’s greenhouse gas reduction.
When Shad Hall, the School’s fitness and recreation facility, needed a new roof, HBS made the decision to go green by installing its first living rooftop. In the fall of 2009, a garden of more than 9,000 hardy perennials was planted atop Shad, covering 5,200 square feet. The green roof has four layers: an impermeable membrane, insulation, a water retention and drainage system, and a shale-based planting medium that will not blow away or compact over time. The new plantings will spread to cover the entire garden area by the summer of 2011.
A living roof like Shad’s has long-term benefits that counterbalance its high construction costs. A green roof can reduce a building’s average daily energy demand by about 15 percent; it absorbs and retains an estimated 75 percent of annual rainfall, reducing storm-water runoff; and it can last twice as long as a conventional roof surface. Shad’s green roof covers about a quarter of the building’s total flat roof surface. The remainder, which is not suitable for planting, is topped by sheets of white polyvinyl chloride to reflect sunlight and reduce cooling costs. Additionally, photovoltaic panels are installed on a portion of the roof.
The green roof crowns a series of other conservation measures inside Shad, including a cogeneration plant in the basement whose waste heat is used to supply hot water for after-workout showers. Based on all these measures, HBS is applying for LEED certification for Shad.
The HBS community is now creating renewable energy during indoor cycling classes at Shad. The stationary bikes were recently fitted with special equipment that sends the energy created through exercise to the electrical power grid and motivates pedalers by displaying the wattage they have created. A typical group-cycling class with about 20 bikes has the potential to produce up to 3.6 megawatts a year—enough to light 72 homes for a month while also reducing carbon emissions by more than 5,000 pounds.