R.W. Kern Center

R.W. Kern Center The R.W. Kern Center is the 17th certified Living Building, embodying Hampshire College’s environmental, social, and community values.

Operating as usual

What are some policies that can promote sustainability in the workplace? Taking a lesson from this pandemic, we can cont...
12/03/2020

What are some policies that can promote sustainability in the workplace? Taking a lesson from this pandemic, we can continue virtual conferencing rather than engaging in costly and carbon-consuming travel. While your office space is unocuppied, now is a great time to hire a consultant to assess your office's electricity, heating, and cooling. It's also a good time to save time and money on your water and energy bills by installing aerated faucets in breakroom and bathroom sinks, and low flow toliets, LED lights. Reconfiguring the breakroom to have enough food storage for all employees also encourages them to bring lunch from home rather than purchasing wasteful takeout. What other things have you tried in your office space? Answer in the comments below!

These three UN objectives promote Sustainable Consumption and Production Policies (SCP): Decoupling environmental degrad...
12/01/2020

These three UN objectives promote Sustainable Consumption and Production Policies (SCP): Decoupling environmental degradation with economic growth is about providing better goods and services with less resource use, and pollution along the whole life cycle. Life Cycle thinking looks at the entire existence of a product to its impact at all stages. "Leapfrogging" describes the prioritization of green markets and jobs in developing countries allowing them to "leapfrog" past wasteful, polluting, and costly phases of development followed by other countries. Have you heard about these concepts before? Comment below! Want to learn more? Check out http://ow.ly/anE050CsDi4

Before the colonizers landed, the Three Sisters was a sophisticated garden design in use from Mexico to Montana. This su...
11/24/2020

Before the colonizers landed, the Three Sisters was a sophisticated garden design in use from Mexico to Montana. This sustainable food system works on the harmonies between the growing tendencies of beans, squash, and corn. The corn provides structure for the beans to climb up. The squash provides ground cover to keep moisture in around the roots of the corn and beans. The beans convert nitrogen from a gas into a usable nutrient, encouraging the beans and squash to grow. On this continent, as we face the challenge of re-designing local, resilient food systems, we’re finally re-learning how to look at a garden as a system rather than as a series of individual products. Concepts like the Three Sisters can prove especially impactful in urban spaces, where growing space is limited.

In 2009, Cincinnati based environmental justice NGO Communities United for Action (CUFA) advocated for environmental jus...
11/18/2020

In 2009, Cincinnati based environmental justice NGO Communities United for Action (CUFA) advocated for environmental justice ordinance in Cincinnati. With support from Vice Mayor David Crowley, the ordinance passed in June 2009 by a 5-4 margin. The ordinance required any industry wanting to operate or significantly expand its operations in Cincinnati to have an environmental justice permit, therefore insuring that Proposed Projects will not have a material cumulative adverse impact on the communities in which they are located.

Environmental Justice HeroesNY State Senator Kevin Parker of the 21st Senate District (Brooklyn) was the sponsor of Sena...
11/17/2020

Environmental Justice Heroes

NY State Senator Kevin Parker of the 21st Senate District (Brooklyn) was the sponsor of Senate Bill S2385, which created a permanent Environmental Justice Advisory group. He was also a supporter of recent NY laws including the Environmental Justice Study Bill and the Environmental Justice Policy Bill. These bills will amend the City's administrative code to require that a citywide study of potential environmental justice communities be conducted, and to require city agencies to develop plans to address environmental injustices in communities of color and low-income communities.

These are the staff of the Harbor West Collaborative, just some of the people that worked towards environmental justice ...
11/16/2020

These are the staff of the Harbor West Collaborative, just some of the people that worked towards environmental justice policy in Baltimore. As a result of their hard work, in March 2018 , the Baltimore City Council passed a ban on the creation or expansion of crude oil terminals within the city. Bans like this one are one type of land use policy that can improve lives in environmental justice communities. These are areas which have been borne the brunt of harm cause by environmentally damaging industries.

Staff pictured: Lisa R. Hodges-Hiken, Executive Director; Karolyn Hughs, Executive Assistant; Missael Garcia, Community Organizer; Justin Fair, Community Fellow

Batesville, Arkansas were struggling to pay their teachers a sufficient salary, and struggling with their energy bill. T...
11/13/2020

Batesville, Arkansas were struggling to pay their teachers a sufficient salary, and struggling with their energy bill. They were able to install a solar array with no up-front costs due to power-purchase agreements. The immediate cost savings allowed the school to funnel an extra $2,000-3,000 into teachers salaries, putting them in the top quartile in the state for teacher pay. To read more about this story, visit https://energynews.us/2020/10/16/southeast/this-arkansas-school-turned-solar-savings-into-better-teacher-pay/

In Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Donnel Baird is retrofitting old residential buildings in neighborhoods that don't have a lo...
11/12/2020

In Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Donnel Baird is retrofitting old residential buildings in neighborhoods that don't have a lot of money to invest. Blocpower promises that co-op owners bills will go down, and didn't ask owners to pay anything upfront. His business model allows owners to pay him back overtime through utility bills, which are still significantly lower than they were before. In one project, simply switching from natural gas to Solar and HVAC cut the carboon footprint of the building 40% right away, and is expected to save thousands of dollars. To read more about this story, visit : https://www.npr.org/2020/10/18/916586592/fighting-climate-change-one-building-at-a-time

The IEA 2020 World Energy Outlook report found that Solar projects now offer some of the lowest energy costs ever seen. ...
11/11/2020

The IEA 2020 World Energy Outlook report found that Solar projects now offer some of the lowest energy costs ever seen. This is due in part to advances in technology, making the panels more efficient, but is aided by policy changes like government subsidies and companies that allow payment plans so buyers don't have to bear the full cost upfront. In honor of this news, we'll be sharing two stories of "Solar Success" in the coming days.

Don't flush opportunity down the toilet! (Especially not ours- no flushing here.)As your allies in creating sustainable ...
11/03/2020

Don't flush opportunity down the toilet! (Especially not ours- no flushing here.)

As your allies in creating sustainable places for people and the environment, we at the R.W. Kern Center urge you to VOTE for candidates and measures that will support a just and sustainable future for all. Make your voice heard.

The @Living_Future compiled a Red List of the most harmful materials in the building industry. This chemicals pollute th...
10/31/2020

The @Living_Future compiled a Red List of the most harmful materials in the building industry. This chemicals pollute the environment, harmful to the workers that make them, or bio-accumulate up the food chain until they reach toxic concentrations.

10/30/2020
Hampshire College Supports Electric Vehicles

Learn about Hampshire College's electric vehicle charging stations, and how they are a part of the college's sustainable infrastructure alongside the R.W. Kern Center.

This video was made for Mass EVolves, a state program supporting the use of zero emissions vehicles in Massachusetts. Low- or zero-emissions transportation is a crucial part of the lower carbon future we need: https://www.massevolves.org

Have you ever used these charging stations? What other programs or support would you look for when considering an electric vehicle?

Learn about Hampshire's electric vehicle charging stations, and how they are a part of the college's sustainable infrastructure alongside the R.W. Kern Cente...

The R.W. Kern Center is seeking applications for student grants. RWKC grants fund research or projects relating to an as...
10/21/2020
Grants + Research – R.W. Kern Center

The R.W. Kern Center is seeking applications for student grants. RWKC grants fund research or projects relating to an aspect of the RWKC’s systems, mission, and/or to the Living Building Challenge. Read the Application Guidelines to learn more.

The R.W. Kern Center offers grants to faculty to support courses with themes or content relating to an aspect of the building’s systems, mission, and/or to the Living Building Challenge. Hampshire faculty can apply for funding of up to $1,500 to develop new courses or augment existing courses to i...

t's not too late to catch some of @aashenews 's virtual conference. Join RWKC's Director Sara Draper for "Beyond Campus ...
10/20/2020

t's not too late to catch some of @aashenews 's virtual conference. Join RWKC's Director Sara Draper for "Beyond Campus Boundaries: Transferring your Skills to Support Climate Action in Local Government on" on Thursday 10/22 at 10am!
https://www.aashe.org/conference/

This Thursday! Register today to receive a free RWKC travel mug. Scholarships are available, please share with anyone fo...
10/13/2020

This Thursday! Register today to receive a free RWKC travel mug. Scholarships are available, please share with anyone for whom financial hardship might be a barrier to learning.

The first 20 people who register for Deep Dive into Net Zero Water at the R.W. Kern Center will receive a FREE travel mug (provided by the R.W. Kern Center)! Limited offer - claim yours before it's too late!
https://builtenvironmentplus.org/event/deep-dive-into-net-zero-water-at-the-r-w-kern-center/

In recognition of Energy Awareness Month, let’s brush up on triple glazed windows. These windows are made up of three la...
10/07/2020

In recognition of Energy Awareness Month, let’s brush up on triple glazed windows. These windows are made up of three layers of glass with small spaces in between. These spaces are usually either a vacuum or are filled with argon or another gas to ensure that air will not leak into the window, decreasing their efficiency. Triple glazed windows help contribute to energy efficiency by reducing the amount of heating or cooling lost through the window opening. These windows are very durable and significantly improve the thermal performance of the R.W. Kern Center.

When is a good time to think about how you heat your home? All the time! But as it gets colder, the question becomes mor...
10/06/2020

When is a good time to think about how you heat your home? All the time! But as it gets colder, the question becomes more relevant. Here are a number of home heating options for you!

In honor of Energy Awareness Month, check out our Energy Explained blog post on the grid and electricity. Questions answ...
10/05/2020
Energy Explained: Part 1 – R.W. Kern Center

In honor of Energy Awareness Month, check out our Energy Explained blog post on the grid and electricity. Questions answered: where does the energy that powers our buildings come from? What is “the grid”? What is electricity?

This post is part of the RWKC Revealed series, which serves as a way to remind people how we interact with the built environment, where we spend 90% of our lives1.

Calling all building designers, engineers, planners, and students! Learn about Net Zero Water and how to make it happen ...
10/01/2020

Calling all building designers, engineers, planners, and students! Learn about Net Zero Water and how to make it happen for more resilient, beautiful built environments.

How do you tour the R.W. Kern Center during the pandemic? Virtually, of course!

Join us on Oct. 15th for Deep Dive into Net Zero Water at the R.W. Kern Center, an interactive course that will take you on a live, virtual tour of the Center.
https://builtenvironmentplus.org/event/deep-dive-into-net-zero-water-at-the-r-w-kern-center/

October is time for spooky skeletons and pumpkin spice lattes at the Kern Kafe, but it is also time to look at our energ...
10/01/2020

October is time for spooky skeletons and pumpkin spice lattes at the Kern Kafe, but it is also time to look at our energy use. National Energy Awareness Month is a time to think about energy resiliency and security, sustainable systems and renewable sourcing, as well as building efficiency and individual behavior changes.

10/01/2020
Composting toilets: the scoop on our poop

Check out the scoop on our poop! Join R.W. Kern Center Coordinator Claire Shillington on a tour of the digestive tract of our composting toilets. See how our waterless system breaks down human waste to create compost we're hoping to use to enrich a new planter bed on our site.

What other RWKC systems do YOU want to hear about?

Join R.W. Kern Center Coordinator Claire Shillington on a tour of the digestive tract of our composting toilets. See how our waterless system breaks down hum...

Changes in our climate are predicted to cause an increase in disasters that threaten people's health and well being. In ...
09/26/2020

Changes in our climate are predicted to cause an increase in disasters that threaten people's health and well being. In honor of Climate Preparedness Week, let's explore the ways that living buildings offer resiliency in the event of a power outage. Learn more about climate change adaptation in buildings at http://ow.ly/Iyx150BBmZb]

Meet our intern, Mer Luchs! Mer is a first semester DIV III writing a collection of poetry about climate change. In thei...
09/25/2020

Meet our intern, Mer Luchs! Mer is a first semester DIV III writing a collection of poetry about climate change. In their work at the R.W. Kern Center, they focus on communicating science through art by designing graphics and informational materials. They also held our "Illusion of Away" show that invited poets and visual artists to explore the concept of waste. #sustainabilityintern #intern #hampshirecollege #livingbuildingintern #hampshirestudent #

In recognition of Massachusetts' Climate Preparedness the RWKC is sharing some of the ways we practice Climate Preparedn...
09/24/2020

In recognition of Massachusetts' Climate Preparedness the RWKC is sharing some of the ways we practice Climate Preparedness. Today we are talking about how we prepare for extreme temperature variation.

The next week marks Massachusetts' Climate Preparedness Week. The Communities Responding to Extreme Weather(CREW) is off...
09/23/2020

The next week marks Massachusetts' Climate Preparedness Week. The Communities Responding to Extreme Weather(CREW) is offering virtual events each of the next seven days. The theme of this year's events is: Social Resilience is Climate Resilience. Please visit the event page to learn more about the slate of events CREW is offering this week. And stay tuned with us to see how the R.W. Kern Center maintains Climate Preparedness https://www.climatecrew.org/prep_week?locale=en

Hampshire College
09/13/2020

Hampshire College

Wow, what a shot of sunset over the R.W. Kern Center by student Aaron Andrews 16F. This amazing and unique Living Building on campus houses the Kern Kafé, offices, and classrooms, but is also a lab where lots of students do environmental studies research. Learn more about it at https://sites.hampshire.edu/rwkerncenter/

Meet our wonderful intern, Oliver Silberstein! He is a first semester DIV III studying Environmental Policy. Oliver star...
09/04/2020

Meet our wonderful intern, Oliver Silberstein! He is a first semester DIV III studying Environmental Policy. Oliver started working for the RWKC a semester after he transferred to Hampshire in the second semester of DIV II. Oliver's work at the Kern Center has included his pursuit of disinfecting rainwater for potable use. He has also hosted a number of events including a series spotlighting community members whose careers are environmentally healthy. #sustainabilityintern #sustainablebuildingintern #livingbuildingintern

The Kern isn't the only Living Building hosting virtual tours! Experience these amazing buildings (from your couch!) wit...
09/03/2020

The Kern isn't the only Living Building hosting virtual tours! Experience these amazing buildings (from your couch!) with the links in our bio. #LBC #LivingBuildingvirtual #virtualtour @KendedaLBC @KendedaBuilding @UofWA @WeberThompson @pittsburghparks @chesapeakebay @Living_Future

Want to learn more about the NAACP's initiative for Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector? Check out their webpage (...
09/02/2020

Want to learn more about the NAACP's initiative for Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector? Check out their webpage (link in bio) to sign up for newsletters, join working groups, and read about their mission. @NAACP #equityinsustainability #buildingequity #NAACP #livingbuildingequity #civilrightsinsustainability #sustainabilityforall

Did you know you can request a tour of the R.W. Kern Center for your colleagues, family, or community group? Email us to...
08/30/2020

Did you know you can request a tour of the R.W. Kern Center for your colleagues, family, or community group? Email us to set up a safe virtual tour to learn about the building, ask questions, and get connected to green building resources.

All tours are free and open to all. We’d love an opportunity to show you around!

https://sites.hampshire.edu/rwkerncenter/tours/

What features make the RWKC safer during COVID-19? Credit to the @KendedaLBC  for the idea, read the full article at htt...
08/29/2020

What features make the RWKC safer during COVID-19? Credit to the @KendedaLBC for the idea, read the full article at http://ow.ly/lvAB50B6Kpl . And shoutout to our own wonderful Claire and Sara for rearranging the Kern's furnishings in preparation for the new school year! @livingfuture #pandemicdesign #buildinghealth #living building #healthybuilding #COVIDdesign

08/28/2020

Opportunity Alert!

NESEA- Northeast Sustainable Energy Association is accepting applications for new members for the Board of Directors.
Do you know someone who's expertise and perspective is needed in this green building and sustainable energy community? (Maybe it's YOU!) Apply and share with others below:
https://nesea.org/be-event/application-deadline-serve-neseas-board

Address

893 West Street
Amherst, MA
01002

PVTA

Opening Hours

Monday 08:00 - 20:00
Tuesday 08:00 - 20:00
Wednesday 08:00 - 20:00
Thursday 08:00 - 20:00
Friday 08:00 - 20:00

Telephone

(413) 559-5949

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