Zilkha Center Mission

The Zilkha Center pursues sustainability at Williams in collaboration with many other departments and individuals on campus and further afield.  We provide connections between those diverse groups; design and advocate for operational change; research, implement and share best practices.  We incorporate education, knowledge sharing and opportunities for action in all that we do.  We consider our work in the broader context – the world, our region, and our local communities.  We actively seek out collaborations with peer institutions and partners to magnify our impact.  And we continually review our efforts through internal reflection and collaborative partnerships, always seeking new methods and setting new goals that will keep us moving toward our vision.

We provide inspiration and support to other campus community members implementing sustainable projects and practices.  As experts we inform the College’s efforts to set ambitious and achievable goals.  We monitor the College’s progress and report on its successes and failures.

In order to do this successfully, we recognize we must understand and value the intersections of sustainability with social justice, environmental justice, equity and inclusion.  We strive to make our work accessible to a wide range of people: those who are committed environmentalists, those who have felt unwelcome in the mainstream sustainability movement, and everybody in between.

Sustainability Assessment

Williams is participating in STARS – sustainability tracking assessment and rating system –  designed by Association for the Advancement in Higher Education (AASHE)  This self-rating system will allow Williams to evaluate progress toward its sustainability goals as well as benchmark against peer institutions.  For more information, visit the STARS website: https://stars.aashe.org/

Williams also participates in sustainability ratings conducted by other organizations including Sustainable Endowments Institute’s Sustainability Report Card.http://www.greenreportcard.org/ The Sustainable Endowments Institute founder is Williams alum Mark Orlowski.

CONTACT:  Stephanie Boyd or Amy Johns

Green Building Projects

The Zilkha Center is currently involved with several building projects at Williams.  In all of these projects the Zilkha Center provides advice and guidance on green building practices and the United States Green Buiding Council (USGBC) LEED certification process.  Our goal is to ensure that the all new buildings and major renovations result in high performing buildings.  Through a thoughtful and deliberate integrated design process, we strive to provide the Williams College community with buildings that support our academic mission while minimizing our environmental footprint.

Stetson/Sawyer Renovation and Expansion: As we near the date of construction start we are taking a final look at the drawings and specifications, finalizing the energy model, and preparing to begin the LEED certification process.

STATUS:  Pre-construction; selecting Construction Management team and LEED Consultant.

BUILDING COMMITTEE:  Michael Brown, David Pilachowski, Bill Lenhart, Ketih Finan, Bill Wagner, Stephanie Boyd, Dinny Taylor, Diana Prideaux-Brune


Weston Field Athletic Complex: Plans to build a new athletic complex at Weston Field to provide locker rooms and other support facilities for football, lacrosse, and other teams that use Lamb Field and Weston Field, bleachers and public rest rooms along with new track and field venues are underway.

STATUS:  Architect selection, conceptual phase

BUILDING COMMITTEE: Jason Moran, Keith Finan, Noah Sandstrom, Stephanie Boyd, Lisa Melendy, Gary Guerin, Tom Henry, Diana Prideaux-Brune, John Gerry


Kellogg House: Center for Environmental Studies and ZIlkha Center for Environmental Initiatives will soon have a new home in a relocated and renovated Kellogg House.

STATUS:  Conceptual phase

BUILDING COMMITTEE:  David Dethier, John Gerry,  Jennifer French,  Sarah Gardner, Stephanie Boyd,  Diana Prideaux-Brune, Dieter Bingeman, Laura McDonald, Abby Martin, Amy Johns, Bruce Decoteau

LEED GOAL:  Platinum

Utility Infrastructure Master Planning

The Zilkha Center is working with Facilities to develop a long term utilities infrastructure plan.  In conjunction with energy reduction projects, this plan will outline the strategy to meeting our emissions reduction goals.  We will be investigated the economic and technical feasibility of variety of initiatives including biomass, hot water heat distribution systems, solar hot water heating, co-generation facility efficiency improvements.  A preliminary report is expected in spring 2011.

STATUS:  Engineering team selection

COMMITTEE:  Don Clark, Jay Thoman, Jose Fierro, Tom Miller, Stephanie Boyd, Ken Jensen

Energy Efficiency

Recent energy efficiency projects have reduced energy consumption at Williams College more than 13% since the peak in 2005, even with the addition of new buildings.   Williams annual energy consumption is the lowest it has been in 10 years.  Current projects are focusing on energy use in the Science Centers, including improved controls for hoods in teaching labs and renovation of hood systems in Bronfman Science Center.  Past projects have included lighting in a numerous buildings on campus, variable frequency drives, and other improvements.  The Zilkha Center works with Facilities and other campus departments to prioritize and implement these projects.  While several of easiest energy conservation projects have been completed, we expect continued improvement in energy use as we have recent organization changes have dedicated a full time staff person to manage this work.

STATUS: On-going