Campus & Community

Kate Loosian

3 min read

Kate Loosian is a senior project manager with Harvard Real Estate Services, where she keeps an educated eye on building renovations at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. (She has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Notre Dame.)

In 2002, Radcliffe unveiled a comprehensive master plan for its serene and historic campus, bordered by Brattle and Garden streets. “Since then, we’ve been renovating most of the iconic spaces around the Yard,” said Radcliffe Executive Dean Louise Richardson, who works with Loosian on building issues.

First came a renovation of the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library, a 1907 masonry structure. It now has very modern touches, including nontoxic paints, recycled carpeting and wallboard, and a reduced energy footprint (25 percent more efficient than building codes require).

Then came work on Radcliffe Gymnasium. The building dates back to 1898, but has been retrofitted with geothermal heating and cooling, high-efficiency ventilation, and other LEED-certified features. (LEED is short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a set of national standards for sustainable buildings.)

Next, Byerly Hall is being refurbished to LEED standards, and will reopen in summer 2008. “We have a philosophical commitment to being as green as we can be,” said Richardson.

“I credit Radcliffe with opening my eyes to the benefits of green building and sustainability,” said Loosian. “Everything I learn makes me want to learn more, and apply it to Radcliffe and to Harvard.”

Part of the challenge has been integrating “modern systems in old buildings,” she said — an issue that LEED projects all over Harvard will face as the University reconciles a tradition of ivy and red brick with the efficiencies sustainability demands.

But there have been very few roadblocks along the way, as architects and builders take in the lessons of green building, said Loosian, who has worked six of her nine years at Harvard on Radcliffe projects. “They’ve been good absorbers, and active contributors.”

Sustainable building principles come down to “doing good by our Earth,” said Loosian, a mother of two who works part time. “It’s no extra effort to do sustainability if you think about it early enough. It’s as simple as any other programmatic requirement.”

Outside of work, Loosian runs, plays soccer, and tries “to keep my family in line,” she said of life with a husband and twin boys, age 5. “It’s project management at work, and project management at home.”

— Corydon Ireland