by Jim Gildea, Fairfield CT

I recently had the pleasure to go to Yale University and specifically the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. It was my second trip there as a few years back, I was part of a roundtable discussion on Sustainability where I was able to talk about Bigelow's sustainability efforts. This year's visit was so that we could see Kroon Hall and see if there were any new ideas that Bigelow could pick up as we look to expand upon our sustainability efforts. Kroon Hall is Yale's greenest building. The U.S. Green Building Council awarded Kroon Hall LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification in February 2010. The building was awarded 59 points, which are 7 more than required for the top rating of Platinum status.

One of the courtyards is actually a green roof and includes Mars Pond (complete with actual Koi fish swimming inside), where water from the building's roof and grounds is cleansed by aquatic plants. The grey water is then pumped into the building, where it used for toilets. The Hall has 2 geothermal wells 1500 feet deep which provide heating and cooling from by using is thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth.The building also has enough solar panels to provide 25% of the electricity needed to power it. The building uses 4 panels of evacuated tubes filled with glycol on the south-facing wall provide the building with hot water and the building is just 57 feet wide which is designed to allow the glass walls to let the natural sunlight filter through. Their interior lighting is also state of the art as they have occupancy sensors that are sense not only motion to turn lights off but they also fluctuate in intensity depending on the amount of ambient light.

It was nice to have an opportunity to visit the school and meet some of the great people behind the program. Bigelow Tea has benefited greatly from our relationship with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. We have worked with teams from the school on projects such as creating an effective manner to track and communicate our sustainability metrics, benchmarking our overall sustainability program and currently they are assisting with the LEED certification process. It was a great visit and we appreciated having the opportunity to see building sustainability in action.