Williams’ emissions come largely from heating, cooling, lighting and ventilating our campus buildings. The College has been investing actively in energy conservation and efficiency in campus buildings since 2007, and will continue to do so – about $1,000,000 every year. That money will be focused going forward on improving building envelopes – air sealing, insulating, weatherizing, and replacing windows. That sort of work is disruptive, so the pace at which it can be done is limited by the logistics of the campus.
The other significant contributor to Williams’ emissions is travel – primarily air travel. The Zilkha Center is organizing an ad-hoc working group that will be exploring ways to reduce the environmental impact (more broadly than just emissions) of travel (to and around campus) and parking on campus. The group will consider recommendations from a parking study done in 2009, as well as any new recommendations.
In 2013 in partnership with Massachusetts insulation contractors Energía and Cozy Home Performance, the Zilkha Center installed new insulation in the Oakley Center for the Humanities and some faculty rental properties to increase energy efficiency. Most of the new insulation is Cel-Pak cellulose, made from recycled newspaper that has been shredded and treated with natural boric acid to make it fire- and pest-resistant. Cellulose was pumped into empty cavities in the buildings, attics and walls that face outdoors. The inexpensive-yet-effective cellulose replaces less efficient materials and less sustainable methods of the past and is projected to reduce fuel use dramatically when winter arrives and heating systems are fired up.