Looking ordinary, being exceptional

first_imgThe Fine Arts Library in Littauer Hall seems pleasant, neat, and — in the best sense — ordinary. Upstairs, three book-lined rooms gleam in the daylight. Downstairs, two levels of utilitarian stacks, painted muted colors, have lights that snap on when you enter.But in fact this corner of the Depression-era granite building is not ordinary at all. It is a model of sustainability for libraries. The wood trim is from sustainable forests, the lighting is energy-efficient, and recycled material is in the wallboard, carpets, and even the furniture.“The reuse of furniture is hugely important. It’s enormous,” said Paul Bellenoit, discussing the savings in costs and materials. He is director of operations and security for Harvard College Library (HCL). Some tables and all study carrels had to be refinished, fitted with power sources, or trimmed to fit new spaces.All of the furniture moved with the Fine Arts Library, which was housed in the Fogg Museum on Quincy Street until the museum closed for renovation and expansion. For the next five to eight years, the library will be housed in Littauer, a grand-columned, granite building built in 1931.Indoor air quality was part of the Fine Arts Library project too. Workers applied paint, adhesives, and sealants that emit very low levels of VOCs, the volatile organic compounds associated with some manufactured products.“You don’t have that new-building sort of smell,” said Andrea Ruedy Trimble, manager of green building services for Harvard’s Office for Sustainability. Bellenoit added that low levels of such vapors — less than 1 percent of standard materials — also protect vulnerable printed materials.Energy savings were a big part of the design. Conservation measures and efficient fixtures have reduced lighting power density, a way of rating energy use by watts per square foot, by 15 percent, said Trimble.There are both practical and aesthetic considerations to another environmental positive for the renovated space that used to house the Littauer Library: daylight. Trimble said that 90 percent of library seating has access to exterior views. Green building guidelines have been in place for all Harvard projects since 2007. But the Fine Arts Library work went a step further by earning project LEED Gold status, the only Harvard library so far to be LEED-certified.LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a set of exacting codes from the U.S. Green Building Council. Projects are ranked like precious metals, with platinum the highest and gold and silver the next in order. LEED scorecards rate site placement, water efficiency, energy use, materials, indoor air quality, and innovation. The Fine Arts Library garnered 40 points, just shy of the 42 required for the platinum rating.The project carries an important message for Harvard, whose classic building stock tends to be on the old side. Said Trimble, “It shows that you can create an efficient space within an existing historic building.”But the Fine Arts Library is not the only good-news sustainability story, said Beth Brainard, HCL director of communications. In fact, the Harvard College Library has been getting green building makeovers and implementing energy conservation measures for a decade, she said, well before LEED standards were established.Widener Library, with its 51 miles of shelving and hundreds of light fixtures, underwent changes starting in 1999. Since then, old-fashioned button lights for each stack have been replaced by motion-activated sensors. Corridor lighting (735 fixtures in total) is being retrofitted with motion sensors, a project that is halfway to completion. That change alone will save $30,000 a year in energy and maintenance costs, and will generate $11,000 in utility rebates.HCL operations manages five free-standing libraries: Widener, Lamont, Pusey, Houghton, and Tozzer. Heating and cooling systems in the five are on stop-start optimization systems now, said Bellenoit, “rather than having it full volume all the time.” (The Harvard College Library system includes eight more libraries and a technical services facility. All are tenants in Faculty of Arts and Sciences buildings.)Motion sensors are being installed for lights in every library office (340 so far). And all toilets and sinks are now low-flow models to conserve water. Widener’s 25 water coolers are gone, a savings of $8,000 a year in energy and bottled water costs.The dramatic chandeliers in Widener once required 24 bulbs at 60 watts each. Replacement bulbs, which impart the same sort of lighting, are only 14 watts each. They also have to be replaced only once every four years instead of three times a year. The savings total $3,000 a year in energy alone.Then there is “delamping” in the HCL libraries, turning off or removing unneeded light fixtures, including redundant lights on 300 Widener study carrels. Reading room spotlights 40 feet in the air have been shut off, saving Harvard $10,000 a year just for bulb changes.“There’s the headline,” said Bellenoit of the delamping strategy. “Lose nothing, gain a lot.”Space heaters in the libraries (as many as 30) were rated at a power-draining 1,500 watts per hour of use. Now there are nine space heaters in the building, each rated at a modest 170 watts.Along with the rest of the buildings associated with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the HCL libraries now have temperature set points for heating and cooling. The highest allowable heat setting is 71 degrees, and the cooling units won’t kick in until a room reaches 75 degrees.The next LEED project for the library system? A new heating and cooling system for Pusey Library is on the drawing board and is at least two years away.In the grand scheme of things, the Fine Arts Library is not a special case so much as it is a sign of continued commitment to sustainability at HCL.A decade or more of experience in making libraries sustainable has put HCL in “a good place” now that energy efficiency and the environment are among Harvard’s highest priorities, said Brainard. “We’ve been able to respond on a variety of fronts.”last_img read more

Giant pumpkins

first_imgGardeners here produce 200- to 350-pound pumpkins each fall. Some of those gardeners are only about one-quarter of the size of their prize pumpkins. This year dozens of Georgia 4-H youths tried their hands at growing mammoth pumpkins and entered them into the 2012 Georgia 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest”t. Trey Thomas, of White County, won first-place with his 342-pound pumpkin. Tift County’s Jasper Utley took second place with a 281-pound pumpkin and Piper Brown, of Henry County, took third with her 260-pound gourd. “This year’s contest showcased the heaviest crop we have seen since 2008, and Georgia 4-H could not be more proud of each of the participants,” said Jenna B. Daniel, the Georgia 4-H program assistant who manages the contest. “The preparation, research, and patience these 4-H’ers put into their projects is a perfect representation of their commitment to engaging in learning and their mastery of skills essential to successfully harvesting their pumpkin.” The top three 4-H’ers will each receive a cash prize, sponsored by the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association, in recognition of the months they spent tending their plants. 4-H organizers like the pumpkin contest because it teaches students the responsibility needed to complete a long-term project, the self motivation and confidence needed to tackle a project independently and the ability to use problem solving skills to persevere against insects, dry spells and pumpkin diseases. But more importantly for the 4-H members, the payoff is really the chance to wow their friends and neighbors and have people ask if they can take a picture with their pumpkin. To learn more about the Georgia 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest, contact Jenna B. Daniel at [email protected] or (706) 542-4444. Every year around this time the national news is filled with stories of monument-sized pumpkins from places like Maine and Michigan, but Georgians are no slouches when it comes to giant produce. last_img read more

Competition at campus basketball courts draws local residents, students

first_imgWhile fans cheered on the USC basketball team Tuesday night at the Galen Center, across the street, players stole the spotlight on a different set of courts.The courts there are a little more dingy, with tattered nets and a thin layer of sand covering the cement. There is no scoreboard and no announcer, and players compete under the yellow wash of lights mounted on the adjoining parking garage.Hoops · Local residents frequently play basketball at the courts across from the Galen Center. The courts are used almost every night, but often remain vacant during the day. – Carlo Acenas | Daily TrojanBut even though these courts aren’t nearly as ornate or well-kept as the Galen Center — or even the courts in the Lyon Center, for that matter — the games they host might be more important for USC’s image than those in either of the other venues.The two basketball courts located on the edge of campus — nestled between Gate 3, Figueroa Street and Parking Structure X — have become a mecca of sorts for basketball enthusiasts over the years. Though the courts are close to the freshmen dorms and sometimes attract USC students, a different crowd comes out to play at night: people who live in the neighborhood.“You get a good workout up here,” said 19-year-old Wayne McIntyre, who lives near campus. “I come here because I [see] the homies and I like playing basketball.”McIntyre and his friends play basketball on the courts regularly — he said he comes to campus “every other day.” There’s always someone on the courts in the evenings, he said, especially on the weekends.“There’s always competition,” he said.But competition marks every basketball court. What sets these courts apart, players said, is that here — unlike elsewhere in South Los Angeles — the competition doesn’t get out of hand.“Elsewhere people are getting mad regularly,” said Clifford Warrn, a 20-year-old who plays on the USC courts daily. “Not so much here. There’s really no arguing — nobody’s causing trouble.”“You can’t say the same thing about other courts,” McIntyre said.There’s something else uncommon about the outdoor courts: Although they are on campus and near many freshmen dorms, they are usually vacant during the day. They don’t come alive until 6 or 7 p.m., when the lights on the parking garage flicker on and players trickle in from different directions — mostly from outside of USC’s gates. Many students say they go elsewhere on campus to play basketball and rarely think about these courts.Anand Abraham, a sophomore majoring in biological sciences, said he has never played basketball on the outdoor courts. He usually plays at Cardinal Gardens or at the Lyon Center, even though he said the latter is “always crowded.”“They’re just closer to me,” Abraham said.Though Daryl Trotter, a junior majoring in architecture, has played basketball on the courts with his friends from the surrounding neighborhood for the past three and a half years, he said he doesn’t see too many other students around. Still, Trotter said, it would not be a problem if students were to visit the courts more often.“People over here wouldn’t even care,” Trotter said. “I think it’d actually be cool.”Bruce Morrissette, a sophomore majoring in business administration, said he used the courts last year and most of the other players were not USC students. Although some students might have negative misconceptions about the neighborhood surrounding USC and the people who live near the university, Morrissette said he had no problems playing basketball with players who weren’t students.“I always thought it was fine,” he said. “I really didn’t see any problems. People got a little into it sometimes, but that’s just competition.”For Trotter, the courts are the place where his friends in the neighborhood can feel like they’re part of the USC community.“A lot of people also come here because it’s up at ’SC. People who are fans of ’SC sports like to come here and ball and play sports at the ’SC courts,” he said. “It makes them feel at home.”Still, some of the regulars said it’s not about the relationship between USC and the neighborhood, and it doesn’t matter who shows up to the courts.“If they can play, they can play,” Warrn said. “It doesn’t matter.”last_img read more