PHOTOS: Earth Day Block Parties

Montgomery County Community College held its annual Earth Day Block Parties from on April 23 (West Campus) and  April 24 (Central Campus). The block parties showcased sustainability initiatives and activities from programs, classes, departments and individuals from throughout the College.

Exhibits included the student Accounting Club; RecycleMania; Green Office Initiative; carbon footprint calculations; SEPTA, Zimride, and other transportation options; green merchandise from Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstores; Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF); Siemens self-funding energy conservation project; sustainable Economics poster session; composting; health-related information; Culinary Arts Institute Landfill-Free Initiative; spring bike maintenance; and more.

Check out photo gallery below. Photos by Alana J. Mauger (Central) and Sandi Yanisko (West).

College’s Wind Turbines Now Part of Pottstown Landscape

by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

Four, 25-foot wind turbines now stand outside of Montgomery County Community College’s Schuylkill Riverfront Academic & Heritage Center. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Four, 25-foot wind turbines now stand outside of Montgomery County Community College’s Schuylkill Riverfront Academic & Heritage Center. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Montgomery County Community College cut a symbolic green ribbon on April 21 to dedicate four brand new wind turbines at its West Campus in Pottstown.

Pa. Rep. Mark Painter, Pottstown Borough Council President Stephen Toroney and Pottstown Mayor Sharon Thomas joined College President Dr. Karen A. Stout and members of MCCC’s Board of Trustees in cutting the ceremonial ribbon.

The 25-foot vertical axis wind turbines were recently installed outside MCCC’s Schuylkill Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center at 140 College Drive, adjacent to Riverfront Park and the Schuylkill River. While the turbines won’t power major facilities on campus, the demo project will provide real-life teaching and learning opportunities for students and faculty.

Each wind turbine produces 1,000 watts of energy, for a combined 4,000 watts, enough energy to power the LED lighting in the Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center parking lot. The lightweight carbon fiber and fiberglass blades have a cut-in speed of 7.83 miles per hour, meaning that winds must be at least eight miles per hour to generate usable electricity.

While the turbines may look big in stature, they are quiet to operate. Each turbine produces about as much noise as a desktop computer—quieter than most air conditioning units. The turbines, which are similar to those found at Lincoln Financial Park in Philadelphia, are endorsed by the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, the National Audubon Society, and by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The new wind turbines are part of the College’s Guaranteed Energy Services Agreement with Siemens Industry Inc., which has enabled MCCC to implement a series of self-funding energy conservation projects. Collectively, these projects will result in 19 percent energy savings—and more than $6 million in cost savings—over the next 15 years.

Other conservation initiatives include converting several buildings from propane to natural gas; retrofitting lighting with energy-efficient units; weatherizing buildings; installing water-conservation commodes; improving heating and cooling units; upgrading building automation and energy management system; and incorporating renewable energy sources—like solar panels at MCCC’s Central Campus, and now wind turbines at MCCC’s West Campus in Pottstown.

To learn more about the College’s Sustainability Initiative, visit mc3green.wordpress.com.

Pictured cutting the ribbon for the wind turbines are (from left) MCCC Trustees Andrew Cantor and Ed Mullin, MCCC Trustee Chairman Michael D’Aniello, Pottstown Borough Mayor Sharon Thomas, MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout, MCCC West Campus Vice President Dr. Steady Moono, Pottstown Borough Council President Stephen Toroney, and Pa. Representative Mark Painter. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Pictured cutting the ribbon for the wind turbines are (from left) MCCC Trustees Andrew Cantor and Ed Mullin, MCCC Trustee Chairman Michael D’Aniello, Pottstown Borough Mayor Sharon Thomas, MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout, MCCC West Campus Vice President Dr. Steady Moono, Pottstown Borough Council President Stephen Toroney, and Pa. Representative Mark Painter. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

PHOTOS: Eco Style Fashion Show

On Tuesday, April 22, Earth Day, Montgomery County Community College Public Relations student Katrina Lundy coordinated an Eco Style Fashion Show in the Parkhouse Hall Atrium at the College’s Central Campus. The event featured students modeling sustainable outfits from Plato’s Closet, Willow Grove, and from the College’s Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstore.

RecycleMania Results: Montgomery Excels in Waste Minimization

RM_logo_2013by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

Montgomery County Community College  finished the national 2014 RecycleMania competition with some promising numbers.

For the second consecutive year, the College placed second among all higher education institutions in Pennsylvania in the competition’s Waste Minimization category, collecting 17.248 pounds of combined trash and recycling per capita. Nationally, MCCC ranked 11th in Waste Minimization among public two-year colleges and 22nd overall.

In the Per Capita Classic category, MCCC finished ninth among public two-year institutions nationally, with 4.658 pounds of recycling per capita. This positioned the College as 20th in Pennsylvania and 279th overall.

In the Grand Champion category, MCCC scored a 27.002 percent cumulative recycling rate, positioning it eighth in Pennsylvania, 14th among public two-year institutions, and 142nd overall.

Montgomery collected a cumulative 37,390 pounds of recycling—an eight percent increase over 2013, ranking it 11th among public two-year institutions nationally, 14th in Pennsylvania, and 249th overall in the Gorilla Prize category

RecycleMania is an eight-week nationwide competition, held Feb. 2 through March 29, during which colleges and universities competed to see who could reduce, reuse and recycle the most campus waste. MCCC has participated for seven consecutive years.

According to the U.S. EPA’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM), MCCC’s recycling efforts during the competition resulted in a greenhouse gas reduction of 63 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E), which is translates to the energy consumption of five households or the emissions of 12 cars.

MCCC was among the first institutions in the country to sign American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2007. The College’s sustainability efforts are led by a team of faculty, students, administrators, support staff, alumni and community members that comprise the President’s Climate Commitment Advisory Council.

To learn more about the College’s Sustainability Initiative, visit its Think Green blog.

To learn more about RecycleMania or to view the full list of results, visit recyclemaniacs.org.

Montgomery Celebrates Earth Day with Week of Activities

green_cities_logo3-300x75 copyby Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

Montgomery County Community College will join communities across the world in celebrating Earth Day 2014, the theme of which is “Green Cities.” Launched in fall 2013, the Earth Day Network’s Green Cities campaign focuses on three key elements of sustainability: clean energy, green buildings and transportation.

While Earth Day itself is observed annually on April 22, MCCC will hold a variety of activities on April 21-24. All events are free of charge and are open to the community. More information will be available on the College’s Think Green blog.

On Monday, April 21, the College will dedicate its new wind turbines during a 2 p.m. ceremony at its West Campus in Pottstown. Four 25-foot vertical axis wind turbines were recently installed outside of the College’s Schuylkill Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center at 140 College Drive. The turbines are part of the College’s Guaranteed Energy Services Agreement with Siemens Industry Inc.

Each turbine produces 1,000 watts of energy, for a combined 4,000 watts, which helps to power the LED lighting in the Center’s parking lot. The wind turbines also serve as a teaching and learning tool for the College’s lab science courses, among others.

On Tuesday, April 22, Earth Day, MCCC will hold an Eco Style Fashion Show from noon-2 p.m. in the Parkhouse Hall Atrium at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Coordinated by Public Relations student Katrina Lundy, the event will feature MCCC students modeling sustainable outfits from Plato’s Closet, Willow Grove, and from the College’s Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstore.

Then, from 1-2 p.m., MCCC will introduce its new “greener” transportation shuttle during a ceremony on the Central Campus quad, outside of the Advanced Technology Center. The new vehicle runs on compressed natural gas as opposed to traditional diesel fuel, which, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, will reduce emissions by 11 tons of carbon dioxide annually based in the vehicle’s 2013 mileage of 28,560.

The College partners with the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF) to operate the 20-passenger shuttle to help students commute between its Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses. The shuttle makes four round-trips per day, Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters; it is free to students and is equipped with wi-fi. Last year, the shuttle program reduced vehicle mileage by more than 520,000 and eliminated emissions of more than 54,500 metric tons of greenhouse gases.

Next, the College will hold its annual Earth Day Block Parties from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23 in the South Hall Lobby at the West Campus, 101 College Drive, and on Thursday, April 24 in the Advanced Technology Center atrium at the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

The block parties will showcase sustainability initiatives and activities from programs, classes, departments and individuals from throughout the College. Exhibits include the student Environmental Club; RecycleMania; Green Office Initiative; carbon footprint calculations; SEPTA, Zimride and other transportation options; green merchandise from Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstores; Siemens self-funding energy conservation project; CulinArt Farmers Market; sustainable Economics poster session; composting; health-related information; Culinary Arts Institute Landfill-Free Initiative; spring bike maintenance; and more.

Since signing the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, sustainability has become a core value at Montgomery County Community College and is incorporated into the institution’s strategic plan, core curriculum, and in everyday best practices as they relate to facilities management, campus operations and transportation. Chaired by President Dr. Karen A. Stout, a team of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members comprise the Climate Commitment Advisory Council, which guides sustainability efforts toward attaining carbon neutrality by 2050.

Editor’s Note: Paul Goraczko and Katrina Lundy contributed this this article.

Video courtesy of Earth Day Network

Eco Style Fashion Show Presents Sustainable Fashion 2014

by Katrina Lundy

eco-fashion-organic-fashion-fashion-trend-that-eco-friendly-590x600What are you wearing? Youthful, sporty, and ecologically conscious is the look for 2014.

On April 22 from noon-2 p.m., Montgomery County Community College will hold its first fashion show featuring sustainable outfits from Plato’s Closet, Willow Grove, and the Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstore.

Students will strut the runway in the ParkHouse Hall atrium at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell as they showcase Eco Style fashions. The event is free and is open to the public.

Sustainable fashion, also called eco fashion, is part of the growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability, the goal of which is to create a system that can be supported indefinitely in terms of environmentalism and social responsibility. At least 8,000 chemicals are used to turn raw materials into textiles, and 25 percent of the world’s pesticides are used to grow non-organic cotton. This causes irreversible damage to people and the environment.

According to Vogue, sustainable fashion appears to be a long-term trend for any season. In 2014, sustainable fashion is available for all ages in every style.  For example, MCCC’s Campus Bookstore carries a sustainable line of athletic clothing by Champion.  The bookstore will offer a 15 percent discount on the day of the fashion show to anyone who buys sustainable fashion.

Come out and support Earth Day with faculty, staff, students, family and friends to create awareness about Eco Style fashions and the Sustainability Initiative at Montgomery County Community College.

‘Green Cities’ Campaign Announced as Theme for Earth Day 2014 & 2015

green_cities_logo3-300x75 copyIssued by Earth Day Network

Earth Day Network launched the Green Cities campaign in the fall of 2013 to help cities around the world become more sustainable and reduce their carbon footprint. Focused on three key elements – buildings, energy, and transportation – the campaign aims to help cities accelerate their transition to a cleaner, healthier, and more economically viable future through improvements in efficiency, investments in renewable technology, and regulation reform.

Energy

Most of the world currently relies on outdated electric generation structures that are extremely inefficient and dirty. To help cities become more sustainable, we need to redesign the current system, transition to renewable energy sources, and implement 21st century solutions.

Green Buildings

Buildings account for nearly one third of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Through simple efficiency and design improvements to buildings we can reduce those emissions drastically. To realize that vision, cities need to update ordinances, switch to performance based building codes, and improve financing options.

Transportation

Transportation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, three quarters of which comes directly from road vehicles. To reduce these emissions and the resulting smog, we need to improve standards, increase public transportation options, invest in alternative transportation, and improve city walkability and bikeability.

Through an informative website and a series of in-depth toolkits, the campaign will educate the public about each element of green cities and spur individuals to take civic action by signing petitions, sending letters, and organizing events.

In addition, Earth Day Network will work with partners on the ground in strategically placed cities and towns to organize grassroots efforts to improve local codes, ordinances, and policies that will help cities become model green cities.

Spanning Earth Day 2014 and 2015, the campaign will work with an international team of partners, including local organizers, non-profits, businesses, and governments to help increase public awareness, mobilize support for appropriate policies, and generate concrete commitments for innovative and replicable initiatives.

To find out how you can get involved in the Green Cities campaign, send us an email: greencities@earthday.org.