Collaboration Brings Results
Several concurrent sessions brought a sustainability focus to other topics, from academics to new building technologies to space use.
In one, "Collaborative Approaches to Sustainability and Energy Management at Community Colleges," presenters described both a statewide effort as well as specific practices of one college.
Across the state, the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN)—a president-led consortium of 17 community colleges—has created and delivered more than 30 online hybrid job degrees or certificate programs. The IGEN partnership has improved the academic platform that supports traditional and advanced training in new building skills such as electric machinery, industrial pneumatics, and energy auditing. Further, it fosters community engagement in sustainable practices by local entrepreneurs, small businesses, trade laborers, and residents.
Speaking for one of the participating schools, Rock Valley College, was Sam Overton, vice president of administrative services. RVC serves six Illinois counties whose major industries are aerospace, automotive, hospitals, construction, and agriculture—and the college has integrated core values of sustainability into all its academic programs.
The college has also implemented creative energy efficiency programs in its facilities master plan. Among its specific efforts are geothermal systems that support heating and cooling; cogeneration for electrical power; energy recovery systems; chilled beam construction (which augments and reduces need for air conditioning); water management features such as on-demand sinks; and other features such as white and green roofs, bioswales, and rain gardens.
At another session, "Renewable Energy Installation Ideas for Your Campus," presenters from two public institutions shared specifics of projects designed to help campuses become carbon neutral. Both examples had unique funding sources that included private banks and university foundations.
Thomas Sonnleitner, vice chancellor for administrative services at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, described two off-site bio digesters that are supplementing the institution's overall energy use. One of the digesters is located near the largest dairy farm in Wisconsin, with 9,600 cows; the other is a small-scale digester that produces 64 kilowatts of continuous electrical power but also processes and improves the waste stream of 2,000 tons of cattle manure and bedding. George Getgen, director of facilities management for the University of California, discussed UC's biogas facility project now under way.
The "Space Analytics" session featured staff from Queensborough Community College, the City University of New York, who implemented a Web-based master planning system to create the most efficient scheduling and space allocation. The campus, through scheduling analytics and frank, open discussions with faculty, was able to recover more than 23,000 square feet of space that can be used for new priorities.
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