Thinking Green for the Holidays
While the focus of UMass Medical School’s sustainability program is on campus operations, the potential impact of what people do in their daily lives is also woven through the ideals of the program.
If students, faculty and staff adopt sustainable practices in elements of their home life, then we can extend the impact of our Growing Green benefits beyond the limits of this campus. With an overall goal of making progress towards a more sustainable community at large, and in the spirit of the holiday season now approaching, the UMMS Growing Green team offers these suggestions:
When traveling for the holidays
• Turn down the thermostat to a safe level to prevent freeze-ups, yet conserve energy.
• Unplug appliances whenever possible, as many still draw power even when not in use.
• Make sure all the windows are closed, and pull the drapes or shades to limit heat loss.
• If you want to leave a light on, use a timer to conserve electricity.
Thinking about gifts
• Purchase ENERGY STAR rated products.
• Buy local products and services wherever possible.
• Use reusable shopping bags whenever possible.
• Be aware of the sustainability practices (or lack thereof) of companies that produce and sell products, before buying.
• Consider reusable and creative packaging for holiday gifts rather than disposal wrap.
• If you use holiday lights, choose LED lights, which use 75 percent less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than traditional lighting strings. (More information about energy usage and decorations can be found at National Grid’s website.)
• If you have a natural Christmas tree, be sure to recycle it. You can usually find a location to do so (and to recycle other products) by contacting your community’s municipal offices or by checking this website: http://earth911.com
Celebrate with the environment in mind
• Consider reusable containers and dinnerware when planning holiday gatherings and urge all who attend to recycle as appropriate.
• Serve locally grown and organic food at festivities.
The Growing Green team wishes everyone in our campus community a peaceful and pleasant holiday season.