By Myra Saturen
April 03, 2014
If the Green Team of the 2014 Leadership Class has its way, Northampton Community College (NCC) will reduce its energy consumption by 20% by 2018.
Members of the team, Nikki Adams, Demetrius Mullen, James Mautz, Yoo Kwi Kim, and Jordan Knighton gave a presentation at NCC on April 1 about environmental sustainability. Their presentation included statistics on current energy use at NCC, suggestions for saving energy at the College, making the future new dormitories eco-friendly, and improving community awareness and use of recycling.
The group cited several reasons why sustainability is important: lower tuition rates through the reduction of waste and energy-saving measures, improvement in public health, and the mutual benefit to individuals and the community. Members defined sustainability as ecological balance, the use of natural resources so as not to deplete them, but rather to maintain them.
NCC's annual energy consumption costs $1,500,000, but it has been reduced through the efforts by students, staff, and faculty, the team showed. Between 2001 and 2011, the volume of trash on campus has declined from 93% to 37% of discarded items, and recycled materials have increased from 7% to 63%.
What are NCCs most recent recycling activities? The team highlighted Manager of Building Services Jeff Kapcsos's donation of new recycling bins for the residence halls and recycling awareness flyers soon to be sent out. Last week, ground was broken for a new residence hall that will meet the rigorous silver certification standards of the United States Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program.
Presenters emphasized the many ways everyone can save energy now, such as turning off computers and lights after use and avoiding the waste of bathroom paper hand towels and printed paper. "Don't print out e-books," Jordan said. "We have to save energy and time."
The students also encouraged long-term measures like updating the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system, completing the transfer to low-energy appliances, utilizing biodiesel energy for vehicles, and the change to smart power strips. Another idea the team suggested was the installation of photovoltaic panels above the College's parking lots in order to insulate the lots and cut down on snow plowing and to use above-ground space rather than take up more land space. Reinforced windows would further maintain the campus in blocking some kinds of sun rays, therefore reducing air conditioning costs and sun damage to property.
The team recommended automated HVAC control and cogeneration, which combines multiple systems into one. For example, through cogeneration, one system would encompass both heat and electricity. "The improvements we make now will give us results in the long run," Mertz said.
The presentation was followed by a lively, engaged question-and-answer period.
The Green Team gave a "shout out" to the Sustainability Committee, the Good Growers Club, the East 40 Community Garden and the sustainability class Bethlehem 350, and thanked Assistant Professor of Biology Karen Klein, Assistant Professor of English Kelly Allen and Associate Professor of Philosophy Ken Burak for their assistance.
Other leadership class teams will also be giving presentations on sustainability. The dates, times and places are: Thursday, April 3, 11:00 a.m. in College Center 190 and Tuesday, April 8, 11:00 a.m. in College Center 220. Earth Day will be celebrated on Main Campus on Tuesday, April 22 in the Quad.
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