Sustainability Efforts

Green Alley

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Mission of the Sustainability Council

Comprised of administrators, faculty, students, and members of the governing board, the mission of the Sustainability Council is to formalize The Boston Architectural College's commitment to sustainability so that our school exemplifies an institution that is philosophically and practically grounded in the guiding principle of sustainability.

Our goals are to revise our operational and educational policies to ensure that the BAC is an institution that:

  • grows and operates without harming our natural environment;
  • teaches future designers that the only viable solutions to design problems are those in harmony with
    natural systems;
  • demonstrates a sustainable paradigm to the design community and society at large;
  • demonstrates an institutional culture that acknowledges that sustainability is rooted in social, economic and environmental justice.

Sustainability in Our Curriculum

The BAC is dedicated to helping students learn about the practices, processes, and materials with which we can create a truly sustainable built environment. The BAC offers a Master of Design Studies in Sustainable Design, as well as a Certificate in Sustainable Design through The Sustainable Design Institute.

All students learn about sustainable design in the 21st century during their Foundation Year. We offer over 50 courses that directly focus on sustainability, many courses within the curriculum incorporate the concepts of sustainability, and sustainable outcomes are considered in critics of students' work.

Through Practice Gateway Projects, students have the opportunity to contribute their talents to nonprofits, community organizations, and municipalities in Greater Boston, gaining valuable experience and making a positive impact. Sustainable projects like The Parkolation Project have a direct, lasting impact on the community.

Green Alley Project

Green AlleyThe Boston Architectural College's Green Alley is designed to reduce non-point source pollution in the Charles River, increase storm water flow into the Back Bay water table, reduce flow to the Boston storm sewers, and create an inviting space between BAC buildings.

The project demonstrates that immediate and long-term environmental challenges facing the City of Boston can be met through creative partnerships between experts and institutions. Its success extends beyond the intelligent beautification of a single area of the campus. It is a replicable design with potentially far-reaching effects.

Learn more

Student Initiatives

Student groups at the BAC are actively involved in addressing sustainability issues on campus and in Boston.
To get involved, explore our Student Organizations or stop by the Office of Student Life

Student-designed waste management system

BAC Students Design and Build Waste Management Station

Student worked with the Sustainability Council and the Facilities Department to reimagine the way students used, reused, and disposed of materials on campus...more.

Fenway Farms green roof tour

Fenway Farms: BAC Students Experience Urban Agriculture at Famous Boston Landmark

Mention Fenway Park and the first thing that comes to mind is likely the “Green Monstah” but it is a different kind of green space that captured the attention of Boston Architectural College students participating in SASLA’s Green Roof Tour...more.

Park(ing) Day design sketch

One Day, One Park: The BAC Students of Park(ing) Day 2015

One hundred and twenty-six square feet is the size of one metered parking space in Back Bay, Boston. But by sunrise, Friday September 18th, 2015, one corner of Newbury and Hereford Streets was transformed into a public park...more.

Facilities Initiatives

In recognition of The Boston Architectural College's efforts to reduced it's carbon footprint, the BAC was named a Green Power Partner of the US Environmental Protection Agency. Here are some of the ways that we strive to make BAC campus sustainable.


The Boston Architectural College currently recycles the following items through a single stream system set up with our vendor. Our recycling rate for 2014 was 50% of total materials discarded.

  • Plastic glass and aluminum beverage containers (both returnable and not)
  • Batteries and cell phones
  • Office paper, newspaper, cardboard
  • Computer equipment. Some computer equipment goes to other non-profits as a donation or to individuals.
  • Office furniture and select appliances by reselling to furniture dealers, donating to the Boston Fire Department, The Furniture Trust, or to staff and students.
  • Select building materials when we are engaged in campus demolition/renovations.

In 2015, the BAC's recyling program...

  • saved 309 trees from being cut down (these are not little trees)
  • saved 72,720 kilowatt hours of electricity
  • saved 127,260 gallons of fresh water
  • avoided the use of 7,090 gallons of oil
  • eliminated 1,091 pounds of polluting effluents from entering the atmosphere
  • eliminated 60 cubic yards of material from going to the landfill


  • Approximately 85% of our office furniture/systems are used and refurbished
  • We purchase "Energy Star" rated equipment when feasible
  • We purchase and use only very low or no VOC paints
  • We purchase only water-based finishes for wood and concrete surfaces
  • We purchase from local dealers/manufacturers when possible


  • Where practicable, we use high-recycle content carpeting (carpet tiles), cork flooring or Marmolium in all flooring applications. We endeavor to keep existing concrete floors as-is. Only water-based flooring adhesives and sealants are used.
  • We specify energy efficient (LED) lighting and occupancy sensors for all lighting applications
  • We specify energy efficient HVAC equipment with Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) and Direct Digital Controls (DDC).
  • When possible we specify recycled or used items for our renovation needs
  • We recycle construction demolition items when possible
  • We use only water-based finishes
  • We specify water-free or low-flow restroom fixtures

Building Systems Operations and Maintenance Procedures

  • We utilize night set-back and economizer modes on all HVAC systems (except no night set-back in library)
  • Security staff turn off any lighting not on occupancy sensors at end of day
  • All building systems are cleaned and maintained on a regular basis in order to optimize performance
  • Only Green Seal, ecologically friendly cleaning materials are used by custodial staff
  • Restrooms use only automatic- metered paper towel dispensers. Restrooms have hands-free flushometers. Ongoing, phased replacement of single-flush valves to duel-flush valves on toilets and urinals
  • All exterior lighting (most are LED) is controlled by photocell or timer
  • We use "compost tea" organic pest control treatment and organic fertilizer on the honey locust trees at the front of 320 Newbury Street.
  • We have replaced bottled water at water coolers with filters on city tap water lines. All cone cups are recyclable
  • When making HVAC repairs we recover all Freon during the repair operation
  • Heating set points to be set at 68 degrees. Cooling set points to be set at 74 degrees
  • Have been transitioning to LED lighting through utility company rebates and incentives along with installation of VFD's using rebates. $160,000 in retrofits costing the BAC $60,000, which will save $19,000 per year.
  • All toxic substance abatement is performed according to all governing state, local and federal codes