Middlebury

Inaugural events celebrate official opening of Hillcrest Environmental Center Oct. 25-27

October 15, 2007

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - From Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 25-27, several events will take place to celebrate the newly opened Hillcrest Environmental Center. Renovations to the building were completed in June, and the facility provides a new permanent home for the college's environmental studies program and office of environmental affairs. All events, including lectures, panel discussions and receptions, are free and open to the public.

The events are coordinated to occur during Middlebury's annual homecoming weekend. "We chose to celebrate the inaugural event of this exciting new space during a time when alumni can enjoy it as well," said Dean of Environmental Affairs Nan Jenks-Jay.

Hillcrest Environmental Center

College administrators have registered the renovated building for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, a sign of environmentally responsible design and execution. When awarded, Hillcrest will be the first LEED-certified building on the Middlebury College campus. Rather than construct a new building for its environmental programs, the college created a model of resource and energy efficiency through the adaptive reuse of the original facility, an 1875 Italianate-style Vermont farmhouse. The college sourced numerous materials locally, including slate for floors and roofs, stone for the foundation and stone walls from the town of Panton, granite from Barre and Forest Stewardship Council certified hardwood trim and flooring from college-owned forests. Vermont furniture makers were commissioned to construct office desks, chairs, tables and study carrels made from local sources, most of which were also certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

"With the college's ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, this renovation marks a new milestone in bringing historic Vermont buildings up to the sustainability standards so critical to our future," said Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz.

The project involved deconstruction, followed by sustainable renovation of the original building and a western addition, and construction of a smaller two-story addition to the south. Highlights of the environmentally sustainable process include:

. More than 80 percent of the deconstructed materials were reused and recycled.
. Slate from the annex roof was used to repair the existing roof.
. Paperstone countertop made from recycled paper and cashew nut resin.
. Desktops and table surfaces were made from a composite of sunflower seed hulls.
. Carpeting was constructed from recycled carpet.
. Acoustic ceiling panels that consisted of recycled material.

To ensure the building's insulation was at its most efficient, the following key features were included in the renovation without disturbing Hillcrest's historic exterior trim and siding:

. Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-free spray-applied icynene foam in walls and ceilings to provide a true vapor and air barrier.
. Locally manufactured windows, with high efficiency low-E glass and argon-filled double-glazing.
. Insulation below the slabs and at foundation walls.
. Airlocks at major entrances.

The building's energy systems include such highlights as room occupancy sensors that turn lights on and off, optimized daylighting and cross-ventilation in all new spaces and high-efficiency lighting. About 20 percent of the building's power comes from the college's central heating plant, and the classroom space is cooled using a geothermal system that saves energy and reduces the college's carbon emissions.

Built in 1875, the original farmhouse was acquired by the college in 1919 and used as a student residence until the 1980s, at which time it was converted into faculty offices for several language departments, seminar rooms and two student apartments.

The renovated building includes 14 offices, a studio, study, lounge and teaching space, as well as informal meeting areas for students and faculty. A key addition is a technologically advanced lecture hall that seats up to 100, which provides space for the environmental studies program's weekly Howard E. Woodin Environmental Studies Colloquium Series, as well as for classes and other college lectures. A landscaped courtyard replaces an area that was previously a parking lot to the southwest of the building. Access to the building is from the east and the west through covered porches into an entrance lobby.

Middlebury's environmental studies program, the oldest undergraduate environmental program in the country, includes courses in the sciences and environmental policy as well as literature, architecture, religion, dance, economics, psychology and international studies. Because of the program's interdisciplinary nature, more than 50 professors teach courses and supervise projects.

On Thursday, Oct. 25, the celebration will begin in the Hillcrest Environmental Center with a Howard E. Woodin Environmental Studies Colloquium lecture at 12:15 p.m. The lecture, titled "The Hillcrest Environmental Center: A Case Study in Community, Technology, Persistence and Reciprocity," will be given by Middlebury College Campus Sustainability Coordinator Jack Byrne. At 4:30 p.m., also in the Hillcrest Environmental Center, artist Deborah Fisher, who created the sculpture of recycled tires outside the center titled "Solid State Change," will discuss her work.

Solid State Change by Deborah Fisher

On Friday, Oct. 26, University of Cincinnati Assistant Professor of Chemistry James Mack, a Middlebury College 1994 graduate, will give a noon lecture in Room 216 of McCardell Bicentennial Hall. The lecture, titled "Green Chemistry," is sponsored by the Middlebury College Office of Institutional Diversity as part of the Twilight Scholar Lecture Series.

At 4 p.m. in Hillcrest, Middlebury College Director of the Program in Environmental Studies and Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies Chris McGrory Klyza will moderate the inaugural panel discussion titled "A Conversation on Sustainability." The panelists, all of Middlebury College, include Campus Sustainability Coordinator Jack Byrne; Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Steve Trombulak; and junior Tiziana Dominguez, a psychology and economics major. Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz will open the discussion with welcoming remarks, and Dean of Environmental Affairs Nan Jenks-Jay will provide closing comments. A reception and tours of the building will follow immediately.

On Saturday, Oct. 27, a panel discussion titled "The Role of the Private Sector in Shaping Environmental Policy" will take place at 5 p.m. in the Kevin P. Mahaney '84 Center for the Arts. Middlebury College Professor of International Environmental Economics Jon Isham will moderate, and panelists include: Terry Kellogg, Director of Massachusetts-based One Percent for the Planet and a member of the Middlebury class of 1994; Andrew Savage, Communications Director for United States Representative Peter Welch and a member of the Middlebury class of 2003; and Lindsey Corbin, Business Development Manager at Chevron Energy Solutions and a member of the Middlebury class of 2005. A reception will follow immediately.

For more information about the Hillcrest Environmental Center Inaugural Celebration, contact Middlebury College Environmental Studies Coordinator Janet Wiseman at 802-443-5710 or jwiseman@middlebury.edu.

Following is a schedule of events:

Hillcrest Environmental Center Inaugural Celebration
Homecoming Weekend October 25-27

Thursday, Oct. 25
12:15 p.m.
Howard E. Woodin Environmental Studies Colloquium
"The Hillcrest Environmental Center: A Case Study in Community, Technology, Persistence and Reciprocity"
Speaker: Jack Byrne, Middlebury College Campus Sustainability Coordinator
Hillcrest Environmental Center, located on College Street (Route 125)

4:30 p.m.
Artist Talk: "Solid State Change"
Deborah Fisher, Artist
Hillcrest Environmental Center, located on College Street (Route 125)

Friday, Oct. 26
12 p.m.
Twilight Scholar Lecture, sponsored by Office of Institutional Diversity
"Green Chemistry"
Speaker: James Mack, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, University of Cincinnati, and 1994 Middlebury College graduate
Room 216, Bicentennial Hall, located on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125)

4 p.m.
Hillcrest Inaugural Discussion
"A Conversation on Sustainability"
Welcoming Remarks: Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz
Moderator: Chris McGrory Klyza, Middlebury College Director of the Program in Environmental Studies and Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies
Panelists: Jack Byrne, Middlebury College Campus Sustainability Coordinator; Steve Trombulak, Middlebury College Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies; Middlebury College junior Tiziana Dominguez, a psychology and economics major
Closing Remarks: Dean of Environmental Affairs Nan Jenks-Jay
Hillcrest Environmental Center, located on College Street (Route 125)

5 p.m.
Reception and tours of the building
Hillcrest Environmental Center, located on College Street (Route 125)

Saturday, Oct. 27
5 p.m.
Exploring The Middlebury Initiative
"The Role of the Private Sector in Shaping Environmental Policy"
Moderator: Jonathan T. Isham, Jr., Middlebury College Professor of International Environmental Economics
Speakers: Terry Kellogg, Director of Massachusetts-based One Percent for the Planet and a member of the Middlebury class of 1994; Andrew Savage, Communications Director for U.S. Representative Peter Welch and a member of the Middlebury class of 2003; Lindsey Corbin, Business Development Manager at Chevron Energy Solutions and a member of the Middlebury class of 2005
Kevin P. Mahaney '84 Center for the Arts, located on South Main Street (Route 30)

6 p.m.
Reception
Kevin P. Mahaney '84 Center for the Arts, located on South Main Street (Route 30)

For more information about the Hillcrest Environmental Center Inaugural Celebration, contact Middlebury College Environmental Studies Coordinator Janet Wiseman at 802-443-5710 or jwiseman@middlebury.edu.