Needham’s “North Hill,” a residential community for older adults, has taken up the cause of “green” living and sustainable practices in impressive fashion! Its commendable efforts provide a model for how an organization can green itself.
Green Needham Collaborative first collaborated with North Hill on a program of learning and action in October 2009, and has come to appreciate the North Hill community’s commitment — on the part of both administration and residents — to maximize the facility’s energy efficiency, reduce personal energy use, and promote recycling. North Hill has over 350 residents, its large campus consisting of 16 contiguous buildings containing apartments, dining areas, and a facility for skilled nursing and other rehabilitative services.
North Hill’s campus affords them many opportunities to save energy, and North Hill has certainly taken the initiative to improve the energy efficiency of its facilities.
- The generator it uses to ensure emergency power allows North Hill to participate in a “load shedding” program with NStar, using the generator instead of the grid during peak hours. This saves North Hill 5% to 15% in energy costs.
- North Hill also recently installed a co-generator, which generates electricity and while it runs, uses the waste heat to heat water for the main kitchen and the laundry facility.
- North Hill has also installed automation technologies throughout the campus, including programmable thermostats in offices and newly refurbished apartments, motion sensors in offices and meeting rooms, and computer software that shuts down every third hallway light at night.
- Finally, North Hill uses ozone technology in its laundry, which involves injecting pure oxygen into the laundry water thus enhancing its cleaning power and decreasing water usage by 40%!
Working in concert with the administration, North Hill residents have also embraced sustainability, seeking to transform their lifestyles. Residents have formed a “Kill-a-Watt” committee, and have worked with the administration on reducing residents’ energy use, increasing recycling (via a single stream system), and promoting environmentally friendly practices.
Green Needham Collaborative congratulates North Hill for making wise investments in energy efficiency which decrease carbon emissions while saving money in the process.