Sustainability Superstar: David Goldfarb

David Goldfarb, professor of biology, has worked in Hutchinson Hall since 1988. Throughout his tenure, the topic of energy conservation within the building has remained consistent. Given the building’s large size and age, along with a growing awareness of sustainability efforts across campus, Goldfarb recognized a need for change. He began a conversation around Hutchinson Hall’s energy consumption and sustainability efforts among department colleagues and realized he was not alone. Many others shared his interest too!

Knowing that strength is in numbers, Goldfarb expanded the conversation beyond just the biology department and introduced the concept of forming a sustainability committee to the chemistry and earth and environmental sciences (EES) departments, also housed within Hutchinson Hall. Together, the three departments formed an information co-op (meaning there is no committee chair) called the Hutchinson Hall Sustainability Committee (HHSC), which includes Goldfarb (Biology), Dan Bergstralh (Biology), Louis Rothberg (Chemistry), Karen Berger (EES) and Rory Cottrell (EES).

Professor David Goldfarb, Department of Biology

With a lot of needs and ambitions in front of them, the group started by focusing on the “low-hanging fruit” first, which for their building means lighting. HHSC has begun the switch from incandescent and fluorescent lighting to LED, which Goldfarb says is a “win-win-win: a win for building occupants, because LED lighting is brighter; a win for efficiency because LED lighting is significantly more energy efficient, and a win for facilities because the bulbs last much longer so many fewer hours need to be spent replacing bulbs.”

Other sustainability initiatives and projects the committee is working diligently on include: completing a ventilation survey of Hutchinson Hall to assess energy consumption and use, encouraging department staff to print double sided, printing in color only when necessary, and opting for electronic/digital means whenever possible.

Goldfarb is quick to credit much of the committee’s progress to its partnership with the University utilities and facilities managers for their assistance, knowledge and support. He also notes that while many large, long-term projects remain to make Hutchinson Hall more sustainable, starting small is important. “Even if only small measures are enacted, such as saving a ream of paper here and there or turning off water heaters and lights, these simple practices may spread to other departments and buildings on campus, to our homes, and to our schools and businesses in the community.”


By Jessica Hamm

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