With a more than 16 percent reduction in both electricity and natural gas usage, Dunster/Mather dining hall was a strong competitor in Harvard’s 2009-10 Green Skillet competition. But the implementation of the kitchen’s Donation Station, which provided opportunity for staff and students to regularly swap and donate unwanted items, proved this kitchen to be the clear winner. More than 650 pounds of items were either reused by house staff and students or donated.
Dunster/Mather staff stayed competitive by following kitchen equipment pre-heat times, turning off lights when not needed, and turning off equipment when not in use. Lighting upgrade projects in Mather’s servery and beverage area also helped reduce electricity usage.
The Green Skillet is an academic year-long sustainability competition between the kitchens of Harvard’s 13 undergraduate and graduate houses. The competition pits kitchens against each other in four categories: electricity conservation, natural gas conservation, participation in the Sustainability Pledge, and special projects.
Electricity and natural gas usage are tracked on a monthly basis. The amount used is then compared to a three-year baseline (an average of that same month’s data over the previous three years). The Sustainability Pledge is measured as the percent participation rate of the dining hall staff. Finally, each kitchen submits special projects that are designed to reduce environmental impacts in some way and are judged on their success at the end of the year. The winning kitchen is awarded a prize (this year it was Green Skillet fleece jackets) and the highly coveted Green Skillet to proudly hang in their hall.