Helmreich House Gets a Sustainability Makeover

Helmreich House's heating systems receives an upgrade

Helmreich House’s heating systems receives an upgrade

Bowdoin College’s College house system allows students the opportunity to live in beautiful century-old buildings while enjoying community living. Helmreich House, fondly known as “Helm” on campus, is part of this system and on the National Registry of Historic Places.

However, as anyone who has lived in a 100-plus-year-old home knows, there is a dark side to the palatial rooms and refined fireplaces of Victorian-era structures. Helm’s heating system was infamously temperamental and inefficient. As one former resident, Daniel Zeller ’15 put it, “The heat was either fully on or fully off for everyone. There was no way to find a happy medium.”

This summer, Bowdoin invested in some weatherization projects for the house that will not only improve the comfort level, but also the carbon footprint of the building. Maintenance coordinator Jim Deimer anticipates the upgrades will save the College at least 17%.

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Bowdoin Sets Up New Composting Systems at Student Houses

Sustainable Bowdoin summer employees Omar Sohail or Bridgett McCoy with one of the new green cones

Sustainable Bowdoin summer employees Omar Sohail or Bridgett McCoy with one of the new green cones.

Composting, the latest way a college student can become more sustainable, has recently become easier on campus because of the installation of two new composting systems: One in the backyard of 30 College Street, the campus’ multicultural house, and the other at Howell House.

The bins are half-buried green cones in which students can deposit leftover vegetables, fruits, bread, eggs and much more, diverting hundreds of pounds of food waste annually. Not only does this save the College money by decreasing the amount of waste, but compost also improves the local land by acting as a fertilizer, soil conditioner and natural pesticide.

While Bowdoin has already established an organic waste diversion program for Bowdoin’s Dining Halls, including feeding pigs the pre- and post-consumer waste from Moulton Union, the addition of these two green cones will make composting easier and more convenient for students in residence halls. In addition to the new green cones, compost bins are currently located outside of Burnett House, Ladd House, Quinby House, MacMillan House and Reed House, as well as the Mayflower apartments. Read the full story.

Rather Than Turfing Its AstroTurf, Bowdoin Recycles Old Playing Field

Rolled-up AstroTurf at Ryan Field

Rolled-up AstroTurf at Ryan Field

This summer, Bowdoin College is replacing its almost 13-year-old artificial field, and instead of throwing it out, is recycling every usable square foot of the synthetic turf.

Nearly 3,000 square feet of the 87,400-square-foot field will be put into use at Bowdoin in the College’s softball and baseball batting cages and pitching areas. The rest of the grassy blanket will be distributed to such places as golf courses, municipal recreational fields, paintball facilities, dog parks, swimming pools, playgrounds and other destinations.

“Our mission is to see that none of the old turf finds its way to the landfill,” said Dave Wheaton, New England’s director of sales for AstroTurf. His company, which is supplying Bowdoin’s new field, is also recycling the old one. Depending on use, the re-purposed fields could last another five to 20 years. Read the full story.

A Day in the Life with Environmental Activist Camille Wasinger ’15

Camille Wasinger ’15

Camille Wasinger ’15

For Camille Wasinger ’15, making Maine a better place to live is all in a day’s work. Wasinger is interning for Maine Conservation Voters with the support of a Bowdoin’s Community Matters in Maine/Psi Upsilon Fellowship.

MCV works in connection with Maine Conservation Alliance to support environmental protection in Maine. MCV has the “political teeth” of the two organizations, as Wasinger said in a recent interview, because they focus on policy and campaign strategy.

Catherine Yochum ’15 recently spoke to Wasinger about a typical day for her in Augusta.