Isa Amaro Varas ’23 awarded distinguished Watson Fellowship
With her passion for sustainability, environmental studies major Sarah Nugent ’10 was a natural for her job as a green-building consultant with Steven Winter Associates, Inc.
Today, her passion has brought her squarely back to campus, where she is part of the consulting team working alongside Payette Architects and KBE Construction on the new $25 million Science Center at New London Hall.
Her work will not only make the new building more green – which is good for the environment and good for the College, it will be crucial when it comes to LEED certification, an environmental leadership honor from the U.S. Green Building Council.
“If the materials don’t comply with the specs for our project, I will reject them,” said Nugent, the firm’s head contact on the project. “Luckily, that has not happened yet!”
It’s one of several projects Nugent handles for Steven Winter Associates, a Norwalk-based building systems consulting company that specializes in high-performance buildings. Her specialty is LEED consulting for commercial buildings. LEED sustainability consulting begins during design and continues through construction.
Nugent is enjoying being back on campus. “It really has been such a great transition from college to the working world to have this type of connection, and I really love it,” she said.
As a student, Nugent’s interest in climate change took her across many disciplines.
“Climate change action isn’t something cut in stone, or something black and white,” she said. Nugest said the interdisciplinary approach allowed students to view huge issues, such as climate change, and interpret them in different ways.
Nugent completed her College-funded internship at Steven Winter Associates in the summer of 2009. The connections she made there helped her land a job after graduation.
Her Connecticut College education helps her know how to communicate with other team members.
“Without my writing and communication skills, I would be way over my head,” Nugent said. “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.”
She is pleased to see her alma mater embrace green building practices. The inclusion of a geothermal system alone has reduced New London Hall’s estimated energy cost by nearly 30 percent, a feat Nugent praises.
“I understand Conn’s goals and values. Our College’s commitment to community and sustainability are really embodied in this project,” she said, “and I have the opportunity to further those ends by being a part of this team.”
--Jordan Thomas '15