Meghan Duggan knows her way around sustainability. The marine engineer with a master’s degree in facilities management can talk easily about kilowatt hours, solar panels, cogeneration, renewable wood, and high-efficiency lights.
Duggan has been manager of energy and sustainable services at the Harvard Business School (HBS) since 2005. Her salary comes from the pool of money HBS saves by doing the right thing environmentally.
Increasingly, Harvard’s historic business school — with its student environment clubs and its growing sustainability curriculum — is turning out M.B.A.s who see a shade of green in the traditional black bottom line.
And why not? As a commentary in The Harbus student newspaper pointed out in April, the Dow Jones sustainability index has for the past four years outperformed the Dow Jones industrial average.
Duggan, who formerly worked for General Electric and KeySpan Energy Delivery, focuses on sustainability, an issue at the heart of HBS’s four-point environmental ethic: energy conservation, waste management, behavioral change, and best practices.
Energy conservation: In fiscal year 2006, HBS completed five lighting retrofit projects that will save the School more than $74,000 in energy costs a year.
Waste management: During the same period, a waste-reduction program kicked the School’s recycling rate to 48 percent, compared with 11 percent the year before.
Behavioral change: HBS was among the first Harvard graduate schools to embrace the Green Living Program, developed by the Harvard Green Campus Initiative. Live-in paid representatives draw fellow students into peer-to-peer outreach on water and energy conservation, recycling, and other sustainability issues.
Best practices: HBS has pledged to achieve LEED certification on all new construction and major building renovations. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, standards for sustainable structures written by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Three LEED projects at HBS are already finished, and await formal certification: renovations at Hamilton, Alrich, and Wyss halls. Two others will be under way shortly — a $20 million full-gut green rehab at Gallatin Hall and a smaller interior-only project at McCullum Hall.
Earlier this year — as part of HBS’s second annual “Green Week” activities — Duggan hosted a luncheon where students could learn about green practices from HBS operations experts. She also led a tour of environmental treasures on the century-old campus.
One stop was Shad Hall, where a rooftop array of 192 solar panels was Harvard’s first renewable energy project. The panels can generate 36 kilowatts, enough to power 20 homes.
Payback for the $400,000 project will take 22 years, said Duggan, “but it shows we’re headed in the right direction.”
— Corydon Ireland