Winter at BB&N means many things: a football field covered in snow, a slushy walk to morning assembly, a rainbow of fleece sweaters. Ask students about the winter season, though, and one response seems to dominate: school classrooms are climate-confused. Spending so much time working and trying to concentrate in an uncomfortable environment is difficult—coats and layers can accomplish only so much.
The real problem lies with irregularity in school heating; some areas of the building are comfortable while others are unusually chilly. And when fighting the cold, in spots the system seems to overcorrect, causing certain rooms to feel too hot and forcing teachers to turn on air conditioning or even open windows. So much for the Green Cup Challenge.
The Upper School underwent major renovations only several years ago. Weren’t climate problems and environmental concerns addressed with these improvements? Every year our school participates in the month-long Green Cup Challenge, which spans from January to February, and last year our energy usage increased by 10.3 percent, despite community efforts to keep the lights turned off. One reason for our lack of success could be the current heating system, which seems to expend excessive energy without effectively addressing the chill of a Cambridge winter.
The Vanguard recognizes our school has made the effort—and spent the money—to implement a heating system that should make school a more comfortable place to learn during New England’s colder months. We only wish that system worked more consistently and effectively.