Each spring, for 22 years, undergraduates have teamed up with faculty and staff in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont (UVM) to advance energy efficiency and greening of the School, its buildings, and its vehicle fleet. We thank retired Research Associate Gary Hawley ’78 G ’82 for his 20-plus years of service to the School in green building maintenance, in particular the Aiken Center’s green roof and solarium, and in pushing the School toward Net Zero Energy. He has engaged and mentored hundreds of UVM students in building sustainability and energy efficiency.

“We are very close to declaring the Aiken Center as a Net Zero Energy building,” said Hawley, a longtime staff and faculty member who has taught the Greening of Rubenstein Interns course. “Students in this class are also excited that we will use renewable solar energy to mitigate energy use of the School’s electric Ford F-150 pickup truck and electric portion of the new Marcelle Melosira hybrid research vessel. Our continued pursuit of net zero operations and spaces is an important part of the university’s sustainability efforts.”

In addition to Hawley, Jack Locker ’24, an Environmental Studies student who took the course last year, served as an undergraduate teaching assistant and mentor. Bryce Carleton ’22, former intern and teaching assistant, returned as a guest speaker to talk about his job as a resource efficiency engineer, which came about because of his participation in the course.

This spring, 27 student interns completed six greening projects. They tracked energy use by the Rubenstein School’s buildings: Aiken Center, Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory, Aiken Forestry Sciences Laboratory, and Johnson House, located across Main Street from the Aiken Center and soon to be affiliated with the School. Interns identified areas in the buildings for improving energy efficiency and reducing energy use. Another team researched the process of obtaining Renewable Energy Certificates for the renewable solar energy produced by four campus solar arrays that could be used by the Rubenstein School as part of the plan to bring the School to net zero energy.

A third team analyzed the School’s vehicle fleet, including the new research vessel, which will run on Lake Champlain, and the newly purchased Ford Lightning pickup, to help guide the Rubenstein School to completely clean energy transportation. The interns proposed new vehicle options for the School, learned more from those who are using the vehicles, and quantified vehicle energy use and emissions data.

A fourth group of interns investigated diverting stormwater from the Aiken Center green roof to use for flushing toilets in the building. To determine the amount of water used to flush toilets, the interns installed counters to track the number of times bathroom doors are opened. Their data will help to determine gray water storage needs. A fifth team cleaned and maintained the green roof tipping bucket stormwater gauges, created a maintenance manual for the green roof, and set up and implemented the green roof fertilization plan.

To document and celebrate the Rubenstein School’s accomplishments along its road to net zero energy, a sixth group designed posters to educate and inspire UVM and Burlington communities about the potential that green buildings and net zero energy efforts have in helping to diminish greenhouse gas emissions.

Learn More

Interns will give their final project presentations May 2 at 6:00pm in Room 311 Aiken Center. Everyone is encouraged to attend. 

Read the mid-semester reports for each group project.

2023 Greening of Rubenstein Interns Project Reports 

Aiken Storm Water Flush (PDF)
Interns: Bella Cichy, Matthew Cincotta, Brendan Hamill-O’Neil, Henry Neuman

Greening of Rubenstein Transportation Team (PDF)
Interns: Audrey Cole, Miles Kramer

Green Roof Deli (PDF)
Interns: Julia Bautista, Betsy Chernoff, Grace Dymoke, Peter Maloney, Page Montgomery, Jonas Peters Jolie Scott, Helena Zuckerman

Obtaining RECs for UVM Net Zero Energy (PDF)
Interns: Addie Andrasz, Jonah Freeman, Anya Flynn, Anna Meli

Quantifying the Road Map to Net Zero Energy (PDF)
Interns: Noah Anderson, Timothy Goettelmann, Nicole Lemieux, Jamie Peyton, Annabel Resor, Charles Scribner

The Greening of Rubenstein’s Road to Net Zero Energy (PDF)
Interns: Annika Parrish, Erin Camire, Nox Giordano


Shari Halik