Jul 222014

Mounted panels at South Hall


Ribbon cutting with the Sustainability Committee and the Nursery School children









On June 24th the Bard Office of Sustainability and Sustainability Counsel held a Solar Dedication Ceremony celebrating the opening of a new solar photovoltaic electric system for South Hall dormitory. The South Hall solar project is an exciting leap forward in the ongoing sustainability initiatives of the college. Bard currently utilizes solar thermal and solar photovoltaic power on campus. The solar thermal systems in place at Tremblay and Keene dormitories heat fluid for exchange but do not produce electricity from solar. Instead, a glycol solution is pumped to the roof, heated and exchanged to provide hot water. In contrast a 280W array of panels at the Lorenzo Ferrari soccer field and the thirty-two newly installed panels at South Hall directly convert solar energy into electricity to directly power the campus grid.

Project director, Bard Energy Efficiency Coordinator and Bard CEP graduate Dan Smith offers a simplified explanation of how photovoltaic panels work: light energy emitted from the sun (in the form of photons) strikes the semi-conductor material of the panel surface. This impact knocks electrons from the panel, creating electrical potential. When the sun is available and there is a need for hot water in South Hall, solar electricity will heat two hot water tanks. If the tank temperatures are satisfied (between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit) solar electricity supplements South Hall’s other energy needs and any additional energy produced “pushes back” to the greater Bard grid. The panels operate in tandem with the pre-existing propane boiler system which provides space heating and hot water if the solar tanks and space heating system. Energy obtained from the panels is first used to heat hot water tanks but if it falls short at night or on cloudy days.
The South Hall project was made possible by a grant from Green Mountain Energy and supplemental funding from Bard College’s Green Fund, a revenue source generated from parking registration, ticketing fees, recycling payments and various government and utility incentives from completed construction and retrofit projects.
Green Mountain Energy is a Vermont based solar provider serving households and commercial establishments. Since their founding 1997, Green Mountain Energy has expanded offices to eleven states and helped consumers avoid a total of 30.6 billion pounds of CO2 emissions annually by using solar power. The company awarded Bard a grant as part of the Sun Club Foundation, a program offering sponsorship to non profits looking to implement solar energy (for more information, or to contribute to the Sun Club, visit www.gmsunclub.com). The system was installed by the Radiant Store, solar installers out of Troy, New York.

 Posted by at 12:30 pm
May 132014

BoS Bingo copy

As the school year wraps up, Bardians are looking to clean up and head out. The Office of Sustainability is offering a number of programs and reminders to help this process be as sustainable and stress-free as possible. We’ve put all our projects onto a BINGO board. Got BINGO? Email husted@bard.edu to claim your prize! And don’t forget to take the MoveOut pledge!

1. Food Drive –  If you’ve got extra cans of food around at the end of the year, donate them to the food drive. The goods will be delivered to a soup kitchen in Red Hook. Collection bins are in most kitchens.

2. FreeUse Drive  – The FreeUse Store is perfect for all the excess clothes, shoes, bedding, school supplies, knick knacks, etc.  you want to get rid of before the end of the year. In addition to the year-round collection bins in the dorms,  you will see larger blue “Barry” bins stationed around campus for extra or larger items. FreeUse gives the  things you no longer want a chance to be reused by someone else.  It’s just a garage though, so remember –  no furniture or items from off campus housing.


Barry the MoveOut monsterFeed Barry Move Out by ted


3. EcoBox Drive –  If you have old electronic items (cell phones), CFLs, ink jet cartridges or plastic bags you’re trying to get  rid of, look no further than your dorm’s EcoBox! The EcoBox is specifically for these items, which need to be  recycled in a special way. If there is no EcoBox in your dorm, talk to your dorm’s EcoRep(s) about bringing the items to the Office of Sustainability. Plastic bags can also be reused or  recycled in front of Hannaford’s.

 4. Bard Bartering – Check out the Bard Bartering Community’s page on Facebook. Perfect for selling, buying, and trading just about anything. Especially great for the end of the year! The EcoReps and Athletic Department are currently putting together a mini fridge moving service, ideal for people moving out of dorms. The service would pick up your fridge and deliver it to FreeUse.  Note that Habitat for Humanities sometimes picks up, or you can bring items to Goodwill or the Salvation Army located right across the bridge. Contact Wylie Earp (we6860@bard.edu) or Alana Bortoluzzi (ab6713@bard.edu) for more information.

2013-04-20_12-32-41_712 5. Clean Out Your Fridge  – Be sure to clean out the kitchen – rotten food stinks.  Any food, containers, silverware, or other items left in the fridge, pantries,  or general kitchen area will be thrown out by your environmental service worker at the end of the year. You  can not only reduce this waste by properly composting food (Dean Shein is holding up the compost bin in the photo), recycling proper containers, and removing  personal silverware and dishes, but you can also save your environmental service worker a lot of trouble.  Win, win!

Thank you for leaving well.

May 162013

With a full meal plan required for all on-campus students and the choice between three dining locations, Bardians are fortunate to have access to three meals a day.  However, not all of our neighbors are as fortunate. Hunger is a problem in the Hudson Valley, and there are plenty of individuals and families in the community who are unsure where there next meal will come from.

Luckily, there are some great initiatives and organizations in the Hudson Valley that try to feed those who are hungry in ways that are healthy and dignified. One of these organizations is a soup kitchen and boarding house called Queens Galley. Queens Galley is a proactive and progressive food organization, which on its website describes itself as, “a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization providing awareness, education, relief and prevention of food insecurity in Kingston, Ulster County, and the Hudson Valley. We create, implement, and support programs dedicated to the affordable nutritional education of children, families, and seniors.” One of Queens Galley most impressive features is that it serves three restaurant-style meals a day (7 days a week) for anyone who walks in the doors, and no one has to show any identification or income statement to eat a delicious meal, which eliminates shame and embarrassment. However, by not requesting documentation, Queens Galley does not get any support from the federal government, which requires that food organizations ask their guests to provide some form of documentation. Thus, Queens Galley relies greatly on donations.

In preparation for the end of the year, Bard Office of Sustainability is organizing a food drive, and all food collected will be going to Queens Galley.  BOS hopes that when students begin to clear and pack up for the summer that food items like extra cans of soup, boxes of rice, and packaged granola bars that were not consumed over the semester will be donated instead of being thrown out.  Queens Galley will take any form of non-perishable food and use it for meal preparation, cooking lessons, and much more!

Donating food is easy! BOS has set up yellow bins all around campus to make it convenient for you to donate food. Look for yellow bins with a soup can with a Superman logo on it (our food drive logo is a SOUPER-man)—for those who don’t have one in their residence hall, bins have also been put in central, non-residential places such as the campus center, Green Onion, and outside the main office of BOS.

To get the food drive started, BOS organized a S’MORES Event on Monday May 13, where students brought a non-perishable food item in exchange for all the S’mores they wanted. Check out the photos below!


**Queens Galley Website: http://www.queensgalley.org/

**Any questions please contact Laurie Husted at husted@bard.edu.


Apr 082013

Citizens for Local Power has taken on the question of whether our utility, Central Hudson, should be taken over by the Canadian firm Fortis.  Here’s what they have to say: “The proposed Central Hudson/Fortis merger does nothing to promote a sustainable energy future for the Hudson Valley. Ultimately the acquisition will make a few high-level CH executives and shareholders very rich, while ratepayers bear the costs of the sale and have service severely eroded while rates rise. Fortis is a Canadian holding company with a bad environmental history and reputation, which will reduce the quality of service by outsourcing work. Local union members from IBEW will lose jobs.”

They have organized a public discussion so the community can learn more, and be empowered to submit comments to the Public Service Commission.  It will be held Wed., April 10, 7pm-9pm at the Elmendorph Inn, 7562 Route 9 in Red Hook.  Then you will be empowered to speak at  two more public hearings scheduled by the Public Service Commission, 4/17, 7 pm in Poughkeepsie and 4/18, 7pm in Kingston.

Citizens for Local Power has released that the proposed takeover was unanimously opposed by resolution of the Ulster County Legislature and the Towns of Rosendale, Woostock and New Paltz.  IBEW Local Union 320 which represents the Central Hudson workers, the Public Utility Law Project (PULP), NYS Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, State Senators Terry Gipson and Cecilia Tkaczyk, Ulster County Comptroller Elliot Auerback and hundreds of others forcefully oppose the takeover.

If you need further information: jenmetzger@yahoo.com, susan.h.gillespie@gmail.com, or dawnmeola@hvc.rr.com

Lastly, you can read more and submit comments: http://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/All/46CD80CE06E8F1B585257B3C0057EFFE?OpenDocument

Comments are due by May 1.

 Posted by at 2:15 pm
Feb 122013

It’s the time of year when we pay special attention to materials management on campus.  I like to use the term ‘material’ because we’ve evolved enough to know that “what we don’t want any more” is not all called trash.  For example, at Bard last week, for Week 1 of Recyclemania, a nationwide recycling contest, we recycled 5200 pounds of paper, cardboard and containers.  We composted 11,200 pounds of food scraps.  We don’t track the ins and outs of our campus FreeUse store, but we know dozens of people frequent that store daily.  And yes, we did make actual trash; we sent 20,600 pounds of trash 250 miles to Ontario County Landfill.

Our paper will be turned into cellulose insulation for homes.  Our food scraps become soil.  Our containers become any number ofContainers at Bard Recycle yard consumer products.  If you do the math you’ll note that our trash reduction rate exceeded a commendable 50%.  When we report to Recyclemania, our recycling rate shows up at 20% (we aren’t allowed to count food scraps in that rate).

The average Bard community member creates a pound of trash each day. Check your trash.  What’s in there?

Can it go somewhere better – even if that means taking a few steps to a centralized recycling and re-use station?  Might you think of a way to have not generated that trash to begin with?  An enthusiastic composter has already shown me how he brings his banana peels home rather than sending them to western NY.

Tell us what you do to reduce, reuse or recycle by emailing reduce@bard.edu and we’ll enter you in the weekly Caught Green Handed Raffle. Enter each week; we especially like to receive relevant photos (you can catch someone else that way and you both get in the raffle).

 Posted by at 5:59 pm
Jan 292013

Every winter, college campuses across the nation find themselves in the midst of a peculiar sort of civil war. Energy challenges, sometimes referred  to as Energy Olympics, have gained popularity among college administrators in the last decade as a method of creating awareness for sustainability issues and saving money on colleges’ utility bills. Students recycle, switch off light bulbs, unplug televisions and (perhaps) take shortened showers in a quest to win acclaim (and sometimes prizes) as the school’s greenest dorm.

But a Portland, Oregon-based internet upstart is attempting to redefine the energy challenge altogether. The software, called Byngo, is a web-based replacement for what many school administrators keep in spreadsheets and binders. But the company says it wants to do more than simplify existing energy challenges.

“Our goal is to transform what has traditionally been a top-down enterprise into something more collaborative—something that students can drive themselves,” says Byngo’s Casey Jarman. The year-old company, which begins beta tests on eight U.S. college campuses in February, has built software that mixes the checklist-style activities at the core of most existing energy challenges (“turn off a light right now”) with activities aimed at getting students to challenge and encourage one another (including the aforementioned shortest shower challenge).

On the Bard campus in Red Hook, Sustainability Manager Laurie Husted sees Byngo as a tool that could drive engagement to new heights. “Managing a competition takes time – to be able to try out a third party tool that tracks results, engages and inspires is something we are very happy to beta test,” Husted says. “We already participate in the Recyclemania contest, now we’re ready to pull off a successful energy challenge.”

“We think we’ve built something really unique with this set of activities,” Jarman adds. “But the fun part is going to be turning our tools over to the masses.” That, Jarman says, is where Byngo hopes to become something of a revolutionary tool—and one Byngo hopes college campuses will find valuable enough to pay for. The company’s real goal is to let administrators—and even students—build their own energy challenges from the ground-up. Those challenges could take the form of campus-wide get-togethers, school trivia or student-versus-student grudge matches. The possibilities extend beyond the realm of sustainability. Taken together, Byngo hopes that the endless opportunities for customization will be enough to transform the energy challenge from something that happens in February to something that campuses participate in year-round.

“Giving people activities to do for a month every year is great,” Jarman says. “But we think that if you give people the tools to create their own challenges, it has the potential to engage them year-round. Long-term, we’re not really interested in pushing our agenda on Byngo users. We want Byngo users to be mad scientists—we want them to show us what this software can do.”

Bard’s energy challenge begins in February. Interested students can join at bard.byngo.com

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 Posted by at 5:58 pm
Oct 212012

It’s tempting to believe the scenic images of mountain  top springs on packaged bottle water, but unfortunately, many of those images are misleading. In fact,the regulations for tap water are often even more strict than those for bottled water and more than 40% of bottled water comes from a municipal supply. Very often, bottled water is tap water treated, purified, and labeled differently sold back to the public at a ridiculously high price.Bottled water, is of course, also regulated for safety but it is regulated by the FDA( The Food and Drug Administration) while tap water is regulated by the EPA( Environmental Protection Agency). Since the FDA considers bottled water a low-risk product, some bottled water plants aren’t even inspected every year. In addition, FDA oversight doesn’t even apply to water that is packaged and sold within the same state, which leaves about 60 to 70% of bottled water free of FDA regulation, according to the National Resources Defense Council. Taking that into consideration, it’s more likely that you’re drinking better regulated and tested water from your kitchen sink, then from a bottle.

An enormous amount of waste and money is also produced from the manufacturing of bottled water. Americans consume about 8.6 billion gallons of bottled water, and 53 billion gallons are consumed globally which generates about 61 billion dollars. That’s a lot of money that could be saved by simply filling up a reusable water bottle with tap water. Additionally, 17 million barrels of oil are used in the production of water bottles yearly, which is enough to fuel a million cars for a year! If tap water was the go-to in America, and globally, we would  not only save billions on the production of bottled water and be able to use that money for more productive projects, but also have more reassurance that the water we are drinking has been regulated and is safer than some bottled waters. The healthier, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly choice is tap. Take back the tap!

Did you know? It actually takes the 3 times the amount of water to produce the bottle as it does to fill it!



Food Day was an amazing success!! We had over 200 people sign the pledge to use water more sustainability If you came by but didn’t get a mason jar, please come by the Bard Office of Sustainability to sign the Pledge  and pick up your free mason jar!  The month of November we will be talking about carbon emissions building up to the wedge game in December..Carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning are projected to double in the next 50 years, unless we find a way to lower our emissions. Check our Facebook page and this blog to see ways you can decrease your carbon footprint!

Oct 022012

How can we reduce the usage of the internal combustion engine?  As part of Bard’s Family Weekend, October 13, we will be sharing a few of the solutions industry, government, NGOs, community members, Bard staff and students have  identified to address this issue.  There is no single answer, so we’re sharing an assortment of programs.  Stop by RKC from 12:30-3:30pm:

  • Chevy is sending their Volt – it will be available for test drives. Central Hudson will bring the Nissan Leaf.
  • “Single occupancy” is a problem you can fix through ride-sharing – 511NY has a solution.
  • A Red Hook community member converted his once gasoline-powered car to all electric. Look under the hood of the Spitfire Triumph.
  • Bard has two ZipCars so you don’t have to own a car.  Become a member of this nationwide program so you can share one.
  • Students help students through the Bike Coop program.  Get empowered to fix your own flat.  Bring your bike for a tuneup!
  • A community member will bring his ‘grease’ van – learn how to make biodiesel and how to convert a vehicle to use straight grease.
  • Students pedal students through the Pedicab program.  Getting from the Fisher Center to Avery has just gotten easier.
  •  We share bicycles with Bard BikeShare.  You don’t have to maintain your own bike – members can borrow one for up to 48 hours.
  • The Bard Office of Sustainability will share bike and walking maps, shuttle schedules and more.

After the Expo stop in for the Panel: An Addiction to Cars: Air Quality and Policy Challenges in the U.S. Transportation Sector from 4pm-5pm in Bito Auditorium, RKC.  RSVP required, and there’s wine and cheese afterwards.  (sorry, the panel is sold out as of Oct. 10)


 Posted by at 10:38 pm
Jun 262012

During last week’s heatwave, we were warned by Clean Air NY that we should stay out of our cars where possible.  I decided to combine some exercise with food procurement and set off on my bicycle to Fraleigh’s Rose Hill Farm, located less than 2 miles from the light in the Village of Red Hook, and a quick  five miles  from Bard (route shown is the best bike route – stay off Route 9G on your bike!).

I was rewarded with a bucketful of the last of the sweet cherries and a how-to primer from a Kingston mom and her son on how to save the cherries for winter pies.  Because it was the end of the cherry-picking season, many of the fruits were beyond my reach.  Farmer Dave was trimming top branches and cut one down for me – easy pickings!

Upon checking out, I learned from Terry (you may find her behind the register at Taste Budd’s Chocolate and Coffee Cafe) that I had picked “Benton” cherries.  A close relation to Bing cherries, Benton cherries can withstand sudden downpours without bursting.

Dave and Terry let me know that blueberry picking is imminent.  The farm is open 8am-1pm.  Let me know what variety of blueberries you find!

 Posted by at 6:39 pm
Jun 262012

The Bard Office of Sustainability wants to invite its summer residents to get outside and enjoy the beauty of Bard with some ideas for activities.

               1. Visit the Waterfall

Directions: Follow Blithewood Road down to the first parking lot on the left. In the corner of the lot is our own water tower, and a small path next to it that leads down to the waterfall. (Follow the trail to find the dam we have downstream – it’s tranquil and soothing on a hot day.)

What to do: Down by the waterfall, the ice cold water is perfect for swimming on a humid day, and there are shade-covered picnic benches mere feet away from the water, where the old Bard pool used to be. Have a summer picnic – it’s a student favorite on campus, and a lovely walk from anywhere at Bard. Keep in mind that this is part of the Sawkill River – which provides our drinking water on campus – so be neat, and take out what you bring in.

The waterfall at Bard.

The old swimming pool by the waterfall, before it was filled in.










*Disclaimer: Do not injure yourself by climbing the waterfall – please!


                      2. Ponder at the Parliament of Reality

Directions: Heading North on Campus towards the Fischer Center, you can find the Parliament across from Manor. (Bonus: if you can find fish food, go and feed the small fish in the water- not too much though!)

What to do: The Parliament of Reality was designed with our college in mind, and the way students interact with the natural world. Grab a blanket, and lie out on the warm stones – cloud watch, doze, draw, write or just ponder. Just keep in mind your own interaction with the natural world – and how you can improve that relationship. Keep the Parliament and our campus beautiful – and find out more about the trees around you by visiting the interactive Arboretum site –http://inside.bard.edu/arboretum/.


The Parliament of Reality - it's still art, so be gentle on it.


                 3.  Bard Farm

Directions: While you’re on the North end of campus, don’t forget to check out Bard Farm, right behind Manor, towards the Hudson. Just follow the big, silver bunny ears!

What to do: The back porch of Manor has the best place on campus to lay out in the sun, and enjoy the warmth of the day. Walking down by the farm will show you the fantastic progress being made, and our own Bardians work to bring not only delicious vegetables, but a message of sustainability and social food consciousness. Don’t forget- the farm can always use volunteers! Contact John-Paul Sliva to get involved – jsliva@bard.edu. (Bonus: Summer thunderstorms are gorgeous in the open sky, as viewed from the back of Manor – just keep away from the tall, metal sculpture, storm-enthusiasts.)


Bard Farm was funded through donations and the Kickstarter page- We did it!


4.  Hike Tivoli Bays

Directions: From the Fischer Center, follow the parking lot road back north of Manor – at the farthest corner of the Fischer Center parking lot, you’ll see a yellow gate that serves as an entrance to Tivoli Bays – do be aware of the regular dangers of hiking, and bring a buddy, sunscreen and all that good stuff.

What to do: Go kayaking and take pictures! Sunset at Tivoli bays is gorgeous. While you’re there, check out the wildlife – Tivoli Bays is a protected area that houses several rare species of wildflowers, butterflies, birds, fish and more. If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can make a set of endangered species bingo cards from the list on the DEC website. http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/36997.html. Tivoli Bays is really beautiful for a short walk, or a day hike – just respect the status of the “wildlife” in the title of Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area.


Kayaking along the Hudson.

Tivoli Bays at sunset.









      5.  Bike Off-Campus

Directions: Make your own path, and get off campus! The best and safest way to Red Hook by bike is to go past the Bard triangle (south campus), and straight across 9g at the light. Take a right on W. Bard Avenue, and a right on Aspinwall Road (these names sound familiar?). Cross Linden Avenue to Apple Ring, and find the Red Hook Recreation Park trailhead – follow that trail through the park. Take a left on Linden Avenue, and ta-da! You come out on 199/West Market Street in Red Hook.

What to do: Eat, Explore, Adventure – the options are endless. Whether it’s to the burrito stand by Hardeman’s Orchard, or down to Taste Budd’s, be sure to get off campus every now and then – and explore the area – which is best seen by bikes. You can download the “Safer” Biking in our area maps from our website, and find directions to local farms (scroll down midway).


The Historic Red Hook Diner


The delicious burrito stand next to Hardeman's Orchard.