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Posts Tagged ‘Lane Community College’

By Jennifer Hayward, Sustainability Coordinator & Anna Scott, Energy Analyst, Lane Community College
(This article appears in the November, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

ACUPCC ImplementerLane Community College established a revolving loan fund in 2006, the only one of its kind at a community college, to pay for energy conservation and renewable energy projects through utility carryover. The fund, called the Energy Carryover Fund, realizes savings when current year electricity and natural gas expenditures are less than current year budget. Additionally, rebates and other incentives for energy-focused projects can be deposited into the Fund, helping to finance more projects in the future. The Fund is managed and implemented by Lane’s full time Energy Analyst, Anna Scott, and currently stands at $122,000.

Annual budgets for electricity and natural gas are determined using an energy use index calculation for the baseline year of 2004-05 and the current year’s prices.  Money is transferred to the Carryover Fund if Lane is purchasing less energy per square foot because of efficiency, conservation, and on-site renewables than in the baseline year.

Lane’s Energy Analyst plans the Fund’s projects in collaboration with faculty and students in its Energy Management and

Lane’s Solar Station provides electricity for charging vehicles and power for nearby buildings.

Renewable Energy Technology degree programs, Facilities Management and Planning staff, and college administrators, under the leadership of President Mary Spilde, a nationally known advocate for sustainability, and past member of the steering committee for the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

In 2006, when the Fund was first set up, Lane created a spreadsheet that listed twenty-one projects to be completed over six years.  Each project listed the estimated cost, rebates or incentives that may be available to help offset the cost, projected annual energy savings in MMBTUs and in dollars, and net dollar savings over the six year period.  Using this spreadsheet, the college could plan projects several years out and have a reasonable projection of the Fund balance into the future.  These projects included lighting retrofits, commissioning, and solar electric installations.

This system worked well for several years, but was temporarily put on hold because of an opportunity to use state stimulus, bond, and grant funds to implement projects. Thanks to prior planning, the college had shovel ready projects and was able to capture state stimulus funds for building-level sub-metering for electricity, natural gas, and water, new better-insulated roofs, an exterior lighting upgrade, and a solar thermal system that provides domestic hot water for Lane’s commercial laundry, showers, and two buildings.  Lane’s voter-approved 2008 bond levy provides funding for such energy efficiency projects as heat recovery systems for the college’s laundry facility and data center plus $830,000 for renewable energy projects.  A $100,000 renewable energy grant from Lane’s utility provider coupled with bond funds for renewable energy allowed the college to build a 43 kilowatt solar array with 19 solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations.

Busy implementing projects funded by these state, bond, and grant funds, college staff have only used the revolving loan fund in a very limited capacity for several years.  However, implementation of these projects is beginning to wrap up and the college is moving back into using the revolving loan fund.  Lane is a charter member of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, which encourages colleges and other organizations to invest in self-managed revolving loan funds that finance energy efficiency improvements.  As Lane has started its second round of planning for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, the resources associated with joining the Challenge have proven invaluable.  One of these resources is a streamlined web-based Green Revolving Investment Tracking System that will be used in lieu of the original spreadsheet planning and tracking system.

Investing in energy efficiency using utility savings is an excellent model that any college can use.  Lane encourages all ACUPCC member institutions to establish a green revolving loan fund, join the Billion Dollar Challenge, and begin using the resources offered to Challenge participants such as the Green Revolving Investment Tracking System.  Lane’s revolving loan fund alone will not get the college all the way to carbon neutrality, but it will get the college part way there, and the planning that is required for the Fund has allowed Lane to take advantage of unforeseen opportunities that have skyrocketed its greenhouse gas reduction efforts.

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By Sarah Brylinsky, Program Associate, Second Nature
(This article appears in the July, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

Download the 2012 Climate Leadership Highlights PDF

Signatory Presidents at the 2012 Summit

Signatory presidents of the ACUPCC pose for a photograph during the opening reception

The 6th Annual American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Climate Leadership Summit took place June 21st-22nd in Washington, DC at American University. 53 signatory presidents and senior staff from over 65 institutions gathered to celebrate the first five years of the ACUPCC and to respond to the summit theme of Economic Renewal: jump-starting a sustainable economy through the ACUPCC.  The attendees discussed ways for advancing peer-to-peer learning and support across the ACUPCC, and identified next steps to foster the ongoing sustainability transformation of higher education by preparing students for the 21st century economy, increasing affordability and access through cost savings, and advancing innovation through research, experimentation, and role-modeling solutions in campus operations.

Special Report: Celebrating Five Years of Climate Leadership

Five Year Report

The ACUPCC released a special report: Celebrating Five Years of Climate Leadership | The Progress and Promise of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment

A special report, Celebrating Five Years of Climate Leadership: The Progress and Promise of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, was released at the Summit, detailing successes from signatory campuses across the country and innovation in education, emissions reductions, financing, and more.

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By Todd Cohen, Director, SEED Initiative, American Association of Community Colleges
(This article appears in the October, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCCEngaging with the community to build sustainable and thriving regional economies is an important pursuit for higher education. For community colleges, in particular, this quest is also a fundamental part of what they are and who they serve.

Community colleges were founded on the principle of service to the community. Most community college students are local residents who stay in the region. Sustainability practices learned at the college, therefore, are likely to be applied locally as those students become part of the fabric of that community. Colleges also serve thousands of local residents and businesses through continuing education, small business support services, and workforce programs. These are critical vehicles that colleges are using to inform the public (i.e. local consumers) about the importance of environmental stewardship and how to take advantage of green technologies like solar panels or sustainable building products. In addition, outside the campus, colleges are key stakeholders in a growing number of regional climate and energy partnership initiatives to reduce community energy consumption or advocate for revised local environmental policies.

All of these characteristics position community colleges to not only lead in creating  healthy communities, but to build the local green economy—a critical element of what is needed today.

“Knowing and being intimately connected to a particular region and community are hallmarks of the community college and are fundamental components of sustainability,” writes Mary Spilde, President of Lane Community College. “This connection to place makes community colleges particularly well suited to engage communities in living sustainably.”1

The Sustainability Education and Economic Development (SEED) initiative of the American Association of Community Colleges and ecoAmerica aims to advance sustainability and green workforce development practices at community colleges by sharing innovative models and resources and building the capacity of community college administrators, faculty, and staff to grow the green economy. The SEED Strategic Plan, developed by a task force of college presidents, identifies “community engagement” as one of three pillars representing the role two-year colleges can play in advancing sustainable development:2

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