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Posts Tagged ‘Mount Wachusett Community College’

By Georges Dyer, Vice President, Second Nature
(This article appears in the June, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer and originally appeared in The New England Journal of Higher Education on May 21, 2012 )

The ACUPCC

Preparedness. Opportunity. Innovation. These words capture the essence of higher education’s critical role in creating a healthy, just and sustainable society. Leaders in higher education are standing up to the greatest challenge of our time by providing education for sustainability and preparing graduates to create a sustainable economy. They are providing the opportunity for more students to access higher education by reigning in costs through energy efficiency and smart building. And by demonstrating sustainability solutions on campus, through research, and in partnership with local communities, they are driving the innovation needed for a true and lasting economic recovery.

Five years ago, a small group of visionary college and university presidents gathered to initiate the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). They were motivated by their conviction that higher education had the capacity and responsibility to make a significant commitment to climate and sustainability action for the sake of their students and society.

As the ACUPCC celebrates its fifth anniversary, 677 colleges and universities are currently active members of this dynamic network, representing more than one-third of U.S. college and university students. These institutions across the country have completed hundreds of projects to reduce energy use, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save money in the process—demonstrating powerful and necessary leadership-by-example for the rest of society.

At the same time, higher education is in crisis. Challenges of accountability, affordability, workforce preparation and relevance are sweeping the sector. The volatile global economy remains unpredictable, with ramifications for every campus. And despite our best efforts, the climate issue becomes more daunting daily.

This month, presidents, provosts and business officers will gather at American University in Washington D.C. for the 5th Anniversary ACUPCC Climate Leadership Summit. The summit will directly respond to these challenges with a theme of Economic Renewal: Jump-Starting a Sustainable Economy Through the ACUPCC.

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By Ulrike Klein, Director of Operations and Communications, Second Nature and John Salak, President, The Salak Group
(This article appears in the April, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

The ACUPCC will celebrate Earth Day the entire month of April by profiling successful sustainability programs and activities at 15 colleges and universities. The Celebrating Sustainability series will demonstrate how effective our signatories are in building sustainable practices that have positive impacts on their campuses, students and surrounding communities.

The month-long celebration will highlight a different success story for each business day in April leading up to Earth Day on April 22nd. The campaign was announced nationally at the end of March.  Every profile will be supported by outreach to media outlets that matter most for the schools involved. The signatory success stories will also be identified on our ACUPCC Web site.

The profiles will cover a range of institutions in terms of size and location. They will also outline a wide array of success stories from Mount Washusett Community College’s drive to achieve near climate neutrality in operations thanks to the installation of two 1.65 MW wind turbines to UC Irvine’s launch of energy-saving Smart Labs.

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Mount Wachusett Community College receives Second Nature’s 2nd Annual Climate Leadership Award. Award recipients were recognized at the 5th Annual American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Summit in Washington, DC on June 23rd, hosted by George Washington University.

With President Daniel Asquino leading the college for more than twenty years, Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) was at the forefront of the national climate movement when it converted its all-electric campus to biomass heating in 2002 to save on energy costs and reduce its carbon footprint. The tremendous success of that initiative – implemented at zero net cost to the college through grants and energy rebates – led to other renewable solutions including solar and wind energy.

This year, MWCC activated two new 1.65 MW wind turbines. The Vestas V82 turbines are expected to generate 97 percent of the college’s annual electricity demand, plus return an additional 30 percent of power back to the grid. With the college’s biomass heating, 100KW photovoltaic array, and solar domestic hot water technologies incorporated into the mix, MWCC anticipates operating as a zero net energy campus and nearing carbon neutrality.

MWCC’s wind energy project is an integral component in the Massachusetts Leading by Example Program initiated by Gov. Deval Patrick to achieve statewide goals for clean and renewable energy. The $9 million project, a collaboration between the college and key state agencies, is being funded through $3.2 million in U.S. Department of Energy grants, $2.1 million from a low interest Clean Renewal Energy Bond (CREB); and $3.7 million from Massachusetts Clean Energy Investment Bonds.

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