2014 Carbon Inventory Report

Montgomery County Community College’s 2014 Carbon Inventory Report is now available.

Each January, the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) requires participating institutions to submit an inventory of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their campuses. The College submitted its 2014 report on Jan. 2, 2015.

To assist with the inventory, the College uses Campus Carbon Calculator, developed by Clean Air-Cool Planet (CA-CP) and now operated by the University of New Hampshire and Sightlines. All emissions are recorded in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCOE).

GHG emissions are divided into three scopes. Scope 1 includes natural gas, college vehicles and agriculture; scope 2 is electricity; and scope 3 is students, faculty and staff commuter emissions, air travel and solid waste.

In 2013-2014, the College’s scope 1 emissions increased by 2,162 Mcf (1 Mcf = 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas) over the previous year. The increase was due, in part, to a colder average winter temperature of 34 degrees, in addition to the Culinary Arts Institute coming fully online. 1,168 Mcf were attributed to the CAI.

Note: 1 Mcf = 1,000 cubic feet = 1 MMBtu (based on natural gas approximate heat value of 1,000 Btu per cubic foot)

Note: 1 Mcf = 1,000 cubic feet = 1 MMBtu (based on natural gas approximate heat value of 1,000 Btu per cubic foot)

The College’s scope 2 emissions dropped by 684,184 kWh (kilowatt-hour) over the previous year, despite the CAI coming fully online, which added 391,680 kWh. The decrease is a result of chiller plant optimization projects at Central and West campuses as part of MCCC’s Guaranteed Energy Services Agreement with Siemens Industry Inc. The College also offset 7,585 metric tons of CO2 by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) through its electricity supplier. Combined, scope 2 reduction efforts enabled the College to save $120,826 on its electric bill in 2013-2014.

Carbon Table 2 rev

As a commuter institution, transportation emissions, scope 3, significantly contribute to the College’s carbon footprint, despite a reduction of 1,263,862 total vehicle miles traveled in 2013-14, due, in part, to a slight overall decline in enrollment. However, these numbers do not reflect miles saved through transportation programs like the Campus Shuttle and Zimride.

Carbon Table 3 rev

The below chart summarizes all emissions calculations, which totaled 11,678 for 2014–the lowest total number since the College began calculating GHG emissions in 2007.

Carbon Table 4 rev

~ by Alana J. Mauger and Charlie Scandone

PHOTOS: Central Campus Gets 50 New Trees

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) donated 50 trees to Montgomery County Community College as part the organization’s wide-ranging campaign to plant 1,200 trees throughout the five-county Philadelphia area. Students, faculty, staff and PHS volunteers planted 50 trees along Loop Road at the College’s Central Campus on Nov. 14. Check out press coverage from The Reporter. Photos by Matt Carlin ’04.

Help Montgomery Win PA American Water’s U-TAP Challenge!

BLOG UTAP MEME3[1]Montgomery County Community College is participating in PA American Water’s U-TAP Challenge! Vote now-Oct. 31, and the school with the most votes will win a water bottle filling station for its campus! You can cast one vote per day. Help Montgomery County Community College reduce its use of disposable plastic water bottles! Vote daily by scanning the QR code below or by clicking here!

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College Celebrates Campus Sustainability Day Through Art, Essays, Info

by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

Campus Sustain Day 14

2014 Campus Sustainability Day logo by contest winner Karim Abdelgawad

Montgomery County Community College will join hundreds of colleges and universities across the country to celebrate Campus Sustainability Day 2014 with activities on Oct. 21 and 22, as well as through a collaborate art project and short essay contest.

In its 12th year, Campus Sustainability Day is designed to create awareness and facilitate discussion between students, faculty, staff and the community at large. The 2014 CSD theme is “Empowering Change on Campus and in the Community.”

This year, MCCC will hold two days of CSD activities:  Tuesday, Oct. 21 from 12:15-1:30 p.m. in the South Hall Lobby at the College’s West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown, and Wednesday, Oct. 22 from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Advanced Technology Center of the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. The Oct. 22 event coincides with a Sustainability Career Day for high school students, presented by Communities in Motion, a foundation of the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF).

Both events will feature informational and interactive exhibits on a variety of “green” topics, including the Green Office Initiative, RecycleMania, Solar and Wind energy, Shuttle transportation program, Zimride, refillable dry erase markers and much more. The Central Campus event will also feature information on water bottle fill stations and a special exhibit of hybrid and electric vehicles in partnership with Conicelli Auto Group.

To commemorate the College’s 50th Anniversary and to create awareness about reusing and recycling common objects, participants are asked to donate unwanted items for a “found object” art project. These items will be mounted onto a four-foot board in the shape of MCCC’s 50th Anniversary logo. Found object items can include would-be-discarded plastic, metal, wood, cardboard, rubber, fabric and glass; writing instruments; CDs; bottle caps; shoe laces; computer parts; utensils; brushes; photos; jewelry and much more! While the possibilities are almost infinite, items that are perishable, soiled, or otherwise inappropriate will not be included. All individuals donating pieces to the project will be entered into a drawing for a free Think Green sweatshirt. Materials will be collected at both campuses.

Members of the College community are also invited to submit short essays describing a sustainable practice in which they engage and why it’s important to them. The deadline for submission is Oct. 31. All entries will be published on the College’s Think Green blog for a two week voting period. The author of the essay with the most votes will also receive a free Think Green sweatshirt, and the essay will be featured as part of the College’s 2015 Earth Day celebration. Essays should be emailed to communications@mc3.edu.

In addition to green specific activities, individuals are encouraged to donate gently used winter coats to benefit the Cluster Outreach Center in Pottstown and non-perishable breakfast items to benefit the College’s Stock Up for Success food pantry for students in need.

The College is also asking community members to get involved by tweeting ways they are going green with the hash tag #ThinkBigGreen.  Responses tweeted by Oct. 31 with the hashtag will be compiled and posted to the College’s Think Green blog!

New App Allows Students to Track Campus Shuttle

by Paul Goraczko, Think Green Correspondent

Montgomery County Community College recently finished installing a new website in partnership with TransLōc, which will allow students to track the location of the campus shuttle in real-time as it moves along its route from Central Campus in Blue Bell to West Campus in Pottstown.

Gregg Heimer, a Senior Network Engineer at the College, was at the helm of the project.

Heimer felt empathy for students who had to wait outside for the shuttle in the cold winter months.

When he left campus each day, Heimer would see students “wasting time peering out the glass window” trying to determine when the shuttle would arrive.

“I knew there were better ways to track such transit vehicles,” Heimer said.

After conducting research and experimenting with demonstrations of various transit-tracking providers, Heimer applied for an internal grant from the College Foundation.

The TransLōc system was installed within 30 days of the grant’s provision.

The new app has instantaneously empowered the shuttle’s riders.

“Students want information at their fingertips,” Heimer said.

TransLōc gives students exactly that. The website uses an automated GPS tracker that allows students to see where the shuttle is located along its route using a map that is powered by Google.

The map above shows the shuttle as it moves along its route.

The map above shows the shuttle as it moves along its route.

The map is updated every second, thus it eliminates the need to sit and peer out the window to determine if the shuttle has arrived on campus.

“Putting myself in the students’ shoes, I would want to utilize as much time as I could on campus and not waste time waiting for transportation,” Heimer said.

Shuttle QR codeStudents can access the website or download the free app for their mobile devices at mccc.transloc.com or by scanning the QR code to the left.

The application is available for iPhones, iPod Touches, iPads, as well as for Android Smartphones and Tablets.

Students who download the application will also be given access to announcements that might impact their ride, including shuttle arrivals and possible shuttle delays and/or cancellations.

The system also includes updates to a digital signage system located at the Advanced Technology Center.

Heimer believes that the new technology will be a welcomed part of students’ commutes.

“Mobile apps are always in demand…and this adds another tool to satisfy that demand,” Heimer said.

Riders without smartphones can also benefit from the text-based arrival predictions by signing up for text alerts. To be notified of estimated arrival times at West Campus (South Hall) riders need only to text “MCCC 074” to 41411. For notification of Central Campus (Advanced Technology Center) arrival times riders need only to text “MCCC 282” to 41411.

The College is not the first higher education institution to partner with TransLōc. The mobile tracking app is implemented at universities such as Yale, The University of Arizona, and The University of Chicago.

Colleges that have previously implemented the app are content with the results.

Ed Bebyn, Manager of Parking and Transit at Yale University, said “TransLōc is easily the biggest factor to [Yale’s transit] system being successful.”

Bebyn even reported that he would rather get rid of other on-vehicle amenities than get rid of TransLōc.

Additionally, transit systems using TransLōc have reported increases in ridership of more than 15%.

It’s unclear how the technology will affect ridership just yet, but Heimer and many others at the College believe that an increase in ridership can only be expected.

If MCCC’s implementation of the tracking technology yields similar results, the shuttle will continue to make not only ecological sense, but also economical sense—as the cost per rider will decrease with the increase in ridership (just as it has done in the past).

Overall, the new technology is just one more way that the College is encouraging its students, faculty, and staff to ‘go green.’

The campus shuttle pictured above can now be tracked using GPS technology.

The campus shuttle pictured above can now be tracked using GPS technology.

Montgomery Earns National Climate Leadership Award from Second Nature

BLOG Second Nature Award

by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

Montgomery County Community College is among six institutions in the country to receive the 2014 Climate Leadership Award from Second Nature—a national non-profit organization that works to create a healthy just, and sustainable society by transforming higher education.

For the past five years, Climate Leadership Awards have been presented annually to signatory institutions of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) that demonstrate innovative and advanced leadership in education for sustainability and climate mitigation and adaptation.

Montgomery County Community College is a two-time recipient of the award, having also been recognized as a Climate Leader in 2011.

“The commitment, enthusiasm, and leadership of this year’s Climate Leadership Awards winners are undoubtedly leading the way for higher education to address the urgency of climate crisis. These institutions’ innovative approaches and exemplary actions in the pursuit of sustainability, both on campus and in the community, are tremendously exciting, and further strengthen the progress made by the ACUPCC network,” said David Hales, president of Second Nature.

For the 2014 award, institutions were evaluated on a variety of criteria for climate leadership on campus, including student preparedness, climate innovation and creation of opportunities.

In the area of student preparedness, the College’s core curriculum shapes students’ experiences through 13 learning competencies, one of which is civic responsibility. To meet this competency, several faculty developed sustainability-focused courses in the disciplines of Economics, Geology and Geography, while others incorporate sustainability-themed projects into their existing courses, including Public Relations, Ceramics, and Composition, among others.

Students also benefit from community partners–including Wissahickon Growing Greener, Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area and Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF)—that help guide sustainability efforts as members of the College’s President’s Climate Commitment Advisory Council. The College’s student-led Environmental Club also forged a partnership with Pennypack Farm and Education Center, where students volunteer monthly while learning about community supported agriculture.”

In the area of climate innovation, the College piloted a four-tier Green Office Initiative in 2013 that encourages departments to adopt sustainable practices and purchase greener supplies in partnership with Office Depot. The six pilot offices reported an average 12 percent decrease in spending while moving to more sustainable supplies and practices. The initiative was brought to scale this spring and has earned awards from the Philadelphia Area Collegiate Cooperative (PACC) and Office Depot.

Montgomery also forged a partnership with Sustainable Waste Solutions to make the Culinary Arts Institute its first landfill-free facility. One hundred percent of the Institute’s trash, cooking grease and food trimmings is recycled or converted into organic agricultural compost or biofuel. To learn about this initiative, watch the College’s “Cooking Green Cuisine” video, produced by Alana J. Mauger and Matt Porter.


Transportation is another key area in which Montgomery excels in climate innovation. To compliment a 20-passenger transportation shuttle—introduced in 2010 to make the 30-mile trip between campuses several times daily—the College also partners with Zimride to facilitate a safe ridesharing program for students, faculty and staff. Combined, the two initiatives reduced vehicle use by almost one million miles and carbon emissions by an estimated 54,644 metric tons. This spring, the College implemented a new compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle that will further reduce carbon emissions by a projected 11 metric tons.

To support its transportation programs, the College opened a green lot in 2012, allowing drivers of electric, hybrid and high-efficiency vehicles, carpoolers, and shuttle riders to access prime parking at the Central Campus. Electric vehicle charging stations are also available at both Central and West campuses. Collectively, the College’s transportation initiatives earned Platinum-Level Sustainability Award from GVF for three consecutive years.

For the final award criteria, creating opportunities, Montgomery partnered with Siemens Inc. to implement a self-funded energy conservation project that will result in more than $6,000,000 (19 percent) in energy savings over 15 years. The project incorporates renewable energy sources from wind turbines at the West Campus and solar panels at the Central Campus, as well as other energy/cost-saving initiatives like transitioning to natural gas, retrofitting lighting, and upgrading HVAC and building automation systems.

To educate and influence the community at large, the College documents all of its work on the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) award-winning “Think Green” blog. The College also invites the community to participate in its annual Earth Week and Campus Sustainability Day activities. To learn more about the College’s sustainability efforts, visit mc3green.wordpress.com.

As a charter signatory of the ACUPCC, Montgomery pledged to neutralize its net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The ACUPCC network is made up of more than 680 colleges and universities, representing nearly 6.6 million students. To date, ACUPCC institutions have achieved a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since the initiative began in 2007. To learn more, visit presidentsclimatecommitment.org.

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