Fri, 26 February 2010
Many of us have adjusted our individual habits to conserve materials and resources: recycling regularly, installing programmable thermostats, and replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents. But how do large corporations and institutions adjust their collective habits? How is change initiated, and how is it managed? February's Urban Sustainability Forum highlighted a variety of local Philadelphia institutions and corporations that have implemented sustainability policies. Their actions are helping to mitigate climate change.
In this podcast, PennFuture's Rachel Vassar talks with two of the event presenters. We hear first from Catherine T. Hunt, Ph.D., Director of Technology Collaboration Development at The Dow Chemical Company (which took over Rohm and Haas). She also served as the 2007 President of the American Chemical Society where she championed education, collaboration, and innovation. At Dow, the company initiated an internal audit of their operational and daily practices- and found a host of opportunities to improve, as well as a number of practical measures that they were already doing that save the company energy and money. One of the "coolest" was putting in a cool, white roof at their facility-- significantly saving money and also extending the life of the roof by at least ten years. Philadelphia homeowners can enter to win a cool roof and other energy-savings retrofits for their entire block of neighbors as part of the Coolest Block Contest. And businesses can join companies like Dow as part of the Greater Philadelphia Green Business Program, a project of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.
We then hear from Daniel Garofalo, AIA, LEED-AP, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania. Dan directed the creation of Penn’s first Climate Action plan for carbon emissions reduction, which was released on September 15, 2009. It's a three-part plan aimed at creating a culture of sustainability at Penn. He describes the steps they take to analyze and buildings on campus for their energy performance, so that the biggest energy users (in terms of buildings) are as efficient as possible. Part of the project includes working with students to challenge them to initiate creative solutions to cut their energy use. He notes that staff and faculty are much harder to get motivated and involved!