Connecticut College Magazine · Summer 2012

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Former Dean of the College Jewel Plummer Cobb with Beverly Clark Prince '72 in Cobb's lab at Connecticut College. Photo courtesy of the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives.

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This project is personal

This project is personal

New London Hall goes green with the help of Sarah Nugent '10

by Jordan Thomas '15


With her passion for sustainability, environmental studies major Sarah Nugent '10 was a natural for a job as a green-building consultant. Now that job has brought her back to campus — as a sustainability consultant on the renovation and expansion of historic New London Hall to create a new science center.

“It really has been such a great transition from college to the working world to have this type of connection,” she says.

In the summer of 2009, Nugent did a college-funded internship at Steven Winter Associates Inc., a Norwalk, Conn.-based firm that specializes in energy efficiency, master planning, and sustainable, whole-building strategy consulting. A year later, after graduation, the firm offered her a job. Now she and her colleagues are working with architecture and construction firms to make the new New London Hall as green as possible.

Nugent reviews and tracks materials for the project's application for LEED certification. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system for verifying a building project's overall energy efficiency and other environmental factors.

The $25 million project is restoring some of the building's original grandeur by removing the unsightly fire escape that faced Tempel Green; replacing copper flashing and downspouts and the slate roof; and removing drop ceilings to restore each floor's dramatic original height.

Unseen but equally important for Nugent is the geothermal heating and cooling system buried under the Green that could reduce New London Hall's estimated energy consumption up to 30 percent; the system will be a significant factor in LEED certification. Other environmentally friendly features include ecofriendly external building materials and new showers in the building's basement, which are expected to encourage more faculty and staff to bike to work.

The Connecticut College project is just one of several Nugent is working on. She specializes in LEED for new construction consulting for commercial buildings, beginning with the design phase and continuing through the end of construction.

As a student, Nugent's interest in climate change took her across many disciplines, from botany to architecture and art history. The environmental studies program's interdisciplinary approach allows students to grapple with huge issues, such as climate change, and interpret them in different ways, she explains.

“Climate change action isn't something cut in stone, or something black and white,” she says.

Her education helps her in many facets of her job, she adds.

“Without my writing and communication skills, I would be in way over my head,” Nugent says. “Ninety-nine percent of the time I am the youngest person on the project team, and many team members have been in their fields for decades. That can be daunting. But good teamwork and communication skills really are the name of the game in LEED, just as they were at Conn.”

Nugent is pleased to see her alma mater embrace green-building practices.
“I understand Conn's goals and values,” she says. “Our College's commitment to community and sustainability are really embodied in this project, and I have the opportunity to further those ends by being a part of this team.”


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