About the Author
Melissa Saggerer

UUA joining Green Streets Initiative Walk/Ride Day Corporate Challenge

Join us in greening the UUA and entering our staff for raffle prizes!  The UUA is joining Green Streets Initiative‘s Walk/Ride Day Corporate Challenge.  All UUA Staff have to do is go to their website on the last Friday of the month and log their commute that day (as long as it was not a single person driving in a car to work).  Be sure to include that you work for the UUA and log in with your uua.org email address.  Options for alternative transportation commuting are:

  • Walk
  • Ride a Bicycle
  • Take the Bus
  • Ride the Train
  • Jog
  • Car Pool
  • They also include kayak and canoe on their list, but I’m not sure that applies… let me know if it does for you!

They have a number of sponsors who offer special deals on the last Friday of the month- make sure to check out all the opportunities here (and note there are 7 pages of sponsors!)

Staff who work offsite can participate and log their commute as well!

Days of the challenge: (last Friday of each month March-September):

March 30, April 27, May 25, June 29, July 27, August 31, September 28.


Visit to Genzyme- a LEED certified building

A group of UUA staff went over to Genzyme in Kendall Square to see what a really green office building looks like.  We also wanted to imagine what our headquarters might incorporate sustainability-wise and this was a chance to open our minds to different possibilities.

Genzyme is a LEED platinum certified office building.  You can go to their website to see other recognitions it has received, and more information.

So many details of the building planning were interesting and innovative.  Fountains with running water in the atrium deadened the sound, making acoustics of other people’s conversations not much of a problem for people working close by; it was very quiet and peaceful.  The lighting system involved a complex series of roof mirrors and ceiling mirrors and prism chandeliers to give off the right amount of diffuse light, moving light when possible to give a calming effect. They were controlled by an automatic weather system to adjust to different lighting levels depending on the day (sunny or cloudy- angles of mirrors would adjust differently).  Through this system they achieved an 80% natural light to 20% artificial light ratio in their work spaces.  The average work space is the reverse.

We came equipped with questions and had some things we would have wanted to do differently- but it was a great learning experience.  I’ll ask the other tour attendees to add comments to this post with things that stood out to them and what they learned.  I’ll ask anyone else to comment what they would like to see the UUA incorporate further into our building, whether we stay here or find another space to work in- what green aspects would you strive for us to operate with?

If anyone missed the tour but will be in the area and wants to check it out there is some information available in Genzyme’s lobby and you can get an idea of the space:

Individual Viewing of Genzyme Center: Individual visitors and the general public may view Genzyme Center from the public space on the first and second floors Monday through Friday, 7am-7pm. You do not need to register to view the building during these times.

Interactive Kiosks & Brochures: There are two touch-screen interactive kiosks in the public viewing space. These kiosks host a virtual tour that highlights the different architectural and environmental features of the building. In addition, brochures about the building are located on a display stand in the lobby and at the reception desk.

Tar Sands Action Leads to Change

[Taken From Beacon Broadside] On November 6, Beacon Press editor Alexis Rizzuto was part of the Tar Sands Action protest in Washington, DC. She sat down with our blog editor to discuss the protest and its impact.

Beacon Press editor Alexis Rizzuto

What was the protest about?

It was to tell Obama not to approve the Keystone XL pipeline in Alberta, Canada, proposed by TransCanada corporation to run from Canada to Texas. They are cutting down the boreal forest in Alberta and turning it into a toxic wasteland to get at the oil up there. Which is a hugely intensive use of energy—you have to burn a lot of carbon to get the oil out, (more…)

Going to the Farmer’s Market & Finding Local Food around Boston

We in the Green Initiatives Staff team have been reading books about ethical, sustainable, healthy food, watching Food Inc and discussing all these great choices we can make regarding food.

map of over 6,000 farmers markets in the US

Next step: where to find it.  We’re all going to our local Copley Square farmers market on Friday May 20th.  Join us if you can, and if not check out these resources.

Finding Local food around Boston: (more…)

Meatless Monday Part II- Staff Potluck!

We were so inspired by Rob’s latest blog entry that we decided to have a staff potluck next Monday, April 4.  If you’re a UUA staff person I hope you’ll be able to join us.  If you are not, or are away from Boston, please try this at home or at your own place of work!  Bonus points if you try for local and organic, but meatless is our goal this week.  If you’re planning to attend and bring something, please note it in a comment!  If you want more information or recipe suggestions, check out Meatless Monday.

In looking for a cool photo to go with this post I found a great short synopsis of Meatless Monday and why it’s great!

Recycling Center Tour in Charlestown

On Friday, November 19th four UUA staff members toured Casella’s zero-sort recycling facility in Charlestown, MA.  Here’s a recap of our trip for everyone who couldn’t attend:

Zero-sort is one word for single-stream recycling, as opposed to double stream where paper/cardboard is separated from glass/plastic.  It is easier for the average person to not have to sort recycling, but to be able to put it all into one container.  Data shows that in areas where single-stream recycling is available volume tends to go up drastically.

where recycling enters the plant

It’s amazing the various methods they use to separate the different kinds of recyclable material.  The material is pushed onto a moving belt which has certain sized roller/slots that shake to capture a certain size of material.  There are also optical sorts which have computers sending light rays down to the material and back up to the computer-when they detect what it is, 160 air jets can shoot it across a divider gap into one stream or it will fall down the gap to another belt. (more…)

Welcome to the Green Initiatives Staff Team!

GIST (Green Initiatives Staff Team) is starting a

bean plant grown from seeds UUA staff planted in an all-staff meeting

number of environmental education opportunities for UUA staff, and we are going to begin with a recycling center tour in Charlestown.

Stay tuned for more information about what we hope to do and how we can accomplish it together.

Potted green beans on the porch of P&E… see our about page for more information on them!