Campus & Community

Practicing ‘best practices’

2 min read

Group works to conserve energy

Dual concerns about Harvard’s environmental impact and skyrocketing energy costs have prompted facilities managers across the University to come together monthly to share thoughts, tips, and techniques for making Harvard buildings energy efficient.

The Utilities and Maintenance Focus Group, which was initiated by Harvard Real Estate Services, began meeting in January with representatives of University Operations Services, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Law School, the Business School, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Real Estate Services, and the Harvard Green Campus Initiative.

“We’re getting green, and everybody’s looking to save energy with the rates going up,” said Larry McNeil, manager of mechanical and structural maintenance for FAS Physical Resources, who helped start the group and who recently moved to FAS from Harvard Real Estate Services (HRES).

Together, group members share what are collectively termed “best practices” and listen to presentations from invited speakers. The group recently completed a best practices flier that has been distributed to building managers in members’ Schools and organizations. The fliers remind building users to take such commonsense steps as turning off lights when not in use and suggests several ideas for managers, from maximizing the use of energy rebates to eliminating leaks in heating and cooling systems and encouraging the use of energy-efficient equipment.

“This is a [group] of facilities people learning from each other,” said John Halloran, senior facilities manager at Harvard Law School. “I’ve been here for 15 years, and this is the first time we’ve gotten together [from different schools] to learn.”