The EcoFellow Experience: Morgan O’Connor

EcoFellow Morgan O'Connor

Hello! My name is Morgan O’Connor, and I am an EcoFellow at the Center for EcoTechnology. My role at CET is focused on communications and building science, but at CET you’re sure to have the opportunity to try everything!

I am a 2017 graduate of UMass Amherst Commonwealth Honors College where I majored in Natural Resources Conservation. At UMass I studied environmental issues broadly, focusing on how biological sciences, conservation efforts, and people intersect. I have worked in various positions from environmental educator to seabird biological field technician; however the EcoFellowship has allowed me to experience practical environmental efforts with a visible impact. I have always known that I wanted my job to be more than just a job, and working for people and the environment keeps me motivated to do my best.

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How to Increase Your Car’s Fuel Efficiency

By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing & High Performance Building EcoFellow

Fuel Efficiency Oil Change

The EPA cites the transportation industry as the second largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in the U.S. at 27% of all emissions, second only to electricity production at 29%. Although this statistic includes commercial airplanes, ships, trains, and freight trucks, the largest contributors are the cars that we use every day.

There are varying levels of action that we can take in order to make our commute as sustainable as possible.

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Is Your Christmas Tree Sustainable?

By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing and High Performance Building EcoFellow

Christmas TreeThis is a question we hear a lot this time of year. People often divide into two camps – artificial trees and living trees. There are a lot of factors that go into why someone chooses one over the other, some people have always grown up with living trees, others prefer the convenience of artificial trees, both of which are valid reasons, but it is important to clear up any misconceptions around which is more sustainable.

For the most part, choosing a real tree is better for the environment. It may be hard to reconcile this fact as you cut down a tree every year at the start of the Christmas season, but if you walked through the life cycle of an artificial tree it would be clear why. Artificial trees are commonly made of PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, which is listed as a carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program.

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Calling all EcoFellows!

ecofellow applicationBy Shelby Kuenzli, Digital Marketing EcoFellow

CET will begin recruitment for our next cohort of EcoFellows on January 1, 2018!

We are seeking five energetic, passionate college graduates to join our professional staff to help people and businesses conserve energy and reduce waste. The EcoFellowship is an 11-month paid fellowship program that gives emerging environmental professionals the opportunity to support CET’s initiatives to assist residents, students, institutions and businesses across the region in energy efficiency, green building, renewable energy, and waste reduction.

The EcoFellowship offers a two-week training and orientation about our organization and the programs we run. During this orientation, the EcoFellows also take part in professional development activities that explore environmental topics that will benefit the EcoFellows and reinforce the work that they will be helping with. Throughout the EcoFellowship, the fellows are offered in-depth career development and support from supervisors and mentors. The EcoFellows are based out of CET’s Northampton office, with travel expected between CET locations and into local communities.

At CET we make green make sense. As an EcoFellow, you help us create measureable impact. EcoFellows work cross-organizationally, and are also given specific areas of focus:

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Living Building Challenge – R.W. Kern Center

By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing and High Performance Building EcoFellow


Living Building Challenge Group Picture

Recently, some of our staff toured a local Living Building on Hampshire College’s campus. The Living Building Challenge is seen as one of the most rigorous design standards in green building. Before certification, a project must prove itself to align with the seven “petals” that make up a Living Building – Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. A project that meets all of these standards is seen to be not just in line with its environment, but improving it.

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