Our awards go to an individual for his/her outstanding contribution to making an environmental difference and to a group who has done much to foster environmental awareness/activism. In 2005, a business award was added to recognize those whose actions positively impact the health of our planet and local communities.

2014 Environmental Leadership Award Winners

Individual Award

Nathan Phillips
Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, BU

Professor Nathan Phillips, PhD

Nathan Phillips is director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, and an associate professor in Boston University’s Department of Geography and Environment. He has mapped more than 3,300 street-level gas pipe leaks in Greater Boston, prompting repairs at some potentially explosive sites. In May, 2011 in Newton, he found a leak spewing 400 cubic feet of gas per day. According to the gas-measuring meter company, “The average house- hold uses about 200 cubic feet per day, so that leak was equivalent to two households opening their gas stoves and heater without igniting them.”

Currently, Nathan is completing a science and technology fellowship with the California State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. As a consultant, his expertise is called upon for topics including high-speed rail, renewable fuels and zero emissions vehicles, ride-sharing technologies and regulation, and legislation promoting sustainable communities and affordable housing. Nathan’s research suggests that 7 to 15 percent of recent emissions of methane in the atmosphere come from urban emissions. These gas leaks, sometimes fatal to trees, represent other potential safety risks and cost consumers millions of dollars in lost fuel. Also, methane can be 20 to 50 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Nathan “walks the walk” in his own life. He commutes by bicycle between Auburndale and BU. He supports the work of Green Decade and serves on the Steering Committee of Bike Newton.

The building’s new roof has significant insulation and light tubes to allow natural light into the corridors. An old, oil fired boiler and steam system was replaced with 96% fficient condensing boilers and a hotwater system. Outdated, single pane windows and uninsulated wall systems were replaced with a triple pane fiberglass window system, insulated walls and soffits, as well masonry walls that have been filled with spray insulation. This may be Newton’s most energy efficient building and will serve as a model to help advance energy efficiency measures in other city buildings.

Group Award

The High Performance Building coalition

HPBC chair, Jonathan Kantar, smiles as he holds the community organization award with High Performance Building Coalition members in the background

The High Performance Building Coalition was formed at Green Decade/Newton’s request during discussions about whether to renovate Newton North or build a new high school. It introduced sustainable design as a goal and convinced the city to include sustainability language in job descriptions for project manager, architect and construction manager. Coalition members attended design team and design review meetings, successfully lobbying for preconstruction testing of proposed external envelope design for energy savings and air sealing.

The Coalition includes engineers, architects and building contractors who are knowledgeable about energy- and money-saving construction methods. It has always emphasized evaluating design and construction options based on the long-term, life-cycle cost rather than the lowest initial cost. The Coalition urges designers to focus on how entire building systems function for the occupants’ well being. The Coalition worked on the Lower Falls Community Center project and currently tracks the school construction projects for Angier, Zervas and Cabot. It has devel- oped sustainability guidelines for new city construction projects and continues to urge the city to include them as well as specific energy modeling requirements in the design process. The Coalition works collaboratively with the administration through the Sustainability Director and Public Buildings Department, the Aldermen, Energy Commission, and the Designer Selection and Design Review Committees and the School Department. Representatives of all these departments and agencies periodically attend coalition meetings.

Business Award

Boston College

Peter Smith congratulates business winners Left to right: Boston College, Dir of Sustainability, Robert Pion, John MacDonald, Bruce Dixon & Terance Leahy.

Boston College has been working to have its entire campus of buildings meet high environmental standards. In 2013, it achieved energy star status for four facilities. They have replaced 750 shower heads saving water and energy. In Higgins Hall, BC replaced lighting, saving 600,000 kilowatt hours and more than $108,000 in annual costs. In the Law Library and East Wing, BC installed a new boilers and controls saving more than $200,000 annually. BC plans to build all new buildings with a goal of achieving a minimum LEED Silver, and higher when feasible.

Students in residence halls have been participating in a national energy competition to see who can reduce the most energy and electricity use during a five-week period. This year students saved 30,436 kilowatts of electricity.

In Recycle Mania, a national collegiate competition aimed at reducing waste and increasing recycling rates on the campus, BC has ranked in the top 10 schools in several categories out of 523 colleges. BC composts 300 tons of food waste each year. Also BC donates leftover food to a veterans’ organization.

At the end of the year move-out, a program called BClean, repurposes and reuses unwanted items left by students and gives them to non-profits. During three years, 13,110 items have been repurposed, 52,469 pounds of clothes have been reused and 4,620 pounds of food has found a use. For the past two years refillable water bottles have been given to all freshmen, and water filling stations are being added.

Previous Environmental Leadership Award Winners

Year Individual Group Business
2004 David Tannozzini
Electrical Engineer, City of Newton
GreenCAP, Co-Chairs Ellie Goldberg & Maeve Ward

(Not established until 2005)

2005 Peter J. Barrer
Demand Management Institute
Friends of Hemlock Gorge Reservation
Whole Foods Market
2006 Ann Dannenberg and Zachary Snow
Newton North High School Science Teachers
Newton Conservators
Wainwright Bank
2007 Sally Rosen
Advisor to the Newton South High School Environment Clubs
Angino Farm
Cambridge Savings Bank
2008 Dirk Detlefsen
Countryside Elementary School Teacher, 5th Grade
Newton/San Juan del Sur Sister City Project
–Margaret & David Gullette, coordinators
Chapman Construction & Design
John C. Hall, President
2009 David B. Cohen
Mayor, City of Newton
Silent Spring Institute
Dr. Julia Brody, Executive Director
Unidine Corporation
David Chechik, Regional Director of Business Development
2010 Verne Vance
Alderman, City of Newton
Bike Newton
Lois Levin, Founder
UGL Unicco
Randy Ledbetter, Vice President of Business Development
2011 Deb Crossley
Alderman, City of Newton
Greengineers, Newton North High School
Steve Chinosi, Director, Innovation Lab
General Compression
Patrick M. Moran, Chief Operating Officer
2012 Maria Rose
Department of Public Works, City of Newton
Newton Tree Conservancy Meredith Management, Corp.
John Rosenthal, President
2013 Representative Kay Kahn
Crystal Lake Conservancy Big Belly Solar