Johns Hopkins has a new guide to all things green:
Davis Bookhart, manager of Energy Management and
In his newly created position, Bookhart's charge is to
develop sustainability initiatives that conserve
electricity, curb water usage and encourage recycling,
while creating a general level of excitement about
ecological initiatives, at the Homewood, Eastern, Mt.
Washington, Peabody and Washington campuses.
"We are thrilled that Davis accepted this position,"
said Larry Kilduff, executive director of the
Facilities Management. "His knowledge and experience
will move us forward at a faster pace on a broad variety of
initiatives related to greening and conservation."
The key to success, Bookhart said, will be the
integrated involvement of faculty, staff and especially
students, who are perhaps the most enthusiastic when it
comes to embracing the changes necessary to reducing the
university's environmental footprint. One of Bookhart's
first strategies is to engage the students on the Homewood
campus, where his office is located.
"Our undergraduates are our greatest resource,
especially those with energy and ideas," Bookhart said.
"After all, they were the ones who got the recycling
program off the ground. My job is to foster that spirit and
tap into the great brain power on our campuses."
Students in groups such as Students for Environmental
Action and, more recently, Engineers for a Sustainable
World have long been supporters of the "greening" of the
campus, as have many faculty.
Faculty within the
Geography and Environmental Engineering are
particularly concerned with issues of sustainability in
energy, public health and environmental degradation, and
many say they are particularly pleased to see the
university making a serious commitment to the sustainabilty
William Ball and Alan Stone, professors of
environmental engineering, have already met with Bookhart
and offered to do what they can to help with promoting the
activity and involving students and faculty. Possible ideas
include engineering student design projects and student
assistance with such projects as wash water reuse, campus
energy audits, installation of battery recycling stations
and perhaps even the creation of some "green" roofs. Ball,
who is also faculty adviser for the Hopkins chapter of
Engineers for a Sustainable World, said that he was "simply
delighted" to hear of Bookhart's hire. "More
environmentally friendly operations on campus will not only
reduce costs at JHU, but they should also reduce some
additional, and unaccounted-for, environmental costs of our
activities," said Ball. "In these and other regards, the
academic campus should strive to be a model for society in
A cost-effective example of saving money while saving
the planet, Bookhart said, would be modifying all the soda
vending machines at Homewood so that their compressors
aren't running 24 hours a day to keep all the cans inside
icy cold when few people are buying soda, say at 3 a.m. in
Gilman Hall. The machines could all be outfitted with a
sensor that shifts its cooling mechanism to accommodate
high-traffic times without wasting energy in the off-hours,
"Something like that could save $75 to $100 per year,"
Bookhart said. "It doesn't sound like much when you are
talking about just one machine, but there are close to 100
of those machines all over campus."
To spread the word about such simple good things,
Bookhart is working to create a marketing campaign that
would include stickers with a logo and slogan that would
alert passersby when a fiscally and earth-friendly win-win
is happening right under their noses.
"We need to highlight our successes to show that we
are moving in the right direction and always looking to do
things in a better way," Bookhart said. "I want people to
come to me with their ideas because they know we are making
A graduate of the University of North Carolina,
Wilmington, Bookhart holds a master's degree in
international affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and
Diplomacy at Tufts University. Before joining the Office of
Facilities Management at Homewood last month, Bookhart was
already active in local conservation efforts. He's
president of Charm21--Clean and Healthy Air through
Renewables in Maryland, a nonprofit group advocating the
use of renewable fuels and resources in the Baltimore
region. Bookhart also has worked with the Baltimore-based
CleanCities.com, which develops clean-emission fleet
industry services, and East Coast Organics, also in
Baltimore, which promotes organic gardening to nurseries
and garden centers. On a national level, Bookhart was
senior project director of the public interest group
Consumer Energy Council of America.
Blake Hough, vice president of the Homewood-based
Environmental Action, said the group is "thrilled" that
Bookhart will be putting his experience to work for
Hopkins. Some projects on which Hough said SEA hopes to
work with him are energy competitions between dorms and/or
departments, more sustainable water management, energy
production on campus and purchasing green power.
"We have been pushing for the creation of such a
position for some time, and it is fantastic to have the
university on board," Hough said. "Davis' energy and
passion for facilitating the transition to a more
sustainable Hopkins crashed head on with mine at our first
introduction, and [he] continues to encourage new ideas
with heartening speed."