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

VIDEO: Bike-Friendly Montco

Montgomery County Community College  joined Santa Monica College in October as the first community colleges in the country to achieve the bronze Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) designation from the League of American Bicyclists. Check out the College’s biking promotional video below!

Video by Matt Porter, Alana Mauger and Gregg Heimer

College Earns GVF Platinum Sustainability Award for Transportation Initiatives

by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

For the fourth consecutive year, Montgomery County Community College earned a platinum-level sustainability award from the Greater Valley Forge Management Association (GVF) on Sept. 8 during the organization’s annual Sustainability Breakfast. MCCC was one of 32 organizations recognized for sustainability efforts in 2014.

The College partners with GVF to operate a campus shuttle service between its Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses and, for the first time this fall, between its Blue Bell campus and Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale. Last year, more than 10,400 riders took advantage of the free, 20-passenger shuttle, which is equipped with wi-fi to support student success.

On Earth Day 2014, MCCC and GVF introduced a new vehicle that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG), which, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, will further reduce emissions by 11 tons of carbon dioxide over the next year based on the 28,560 miles driven and 3,483 gallons of diesel fuel used in 2013. Prior to the introduction of the CNG vehicle, the College’s shuttle program helped to eliminate approximately 54,527 metric tons of carbon emissions and reduce vehicle usage by 522,144 miles annually.

In addition to the shuttle program, MCCC also employs Zimride, an industry leading rideshare service that provides a safe and easy way for students and staff to arrange carpooling through college community network that fully integrates with Facebook. Since launching Zimride in 2011, the College’s network has logged 1,461,492 carpool miles.

At the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, drivers of electric, hybrid, and conventional vehicles that average 25 MPG or greater, as well as carpoolers and shuttle riders, have the opportunity to park in a designated, convenient 185-space parking lot adjacent to the Advanced Technology Center. Electric vehicle charging stations are available in the Green Lot, as well as in the South Hall parking lot at the West Campus in Pottstown.

Other transportation initiatives include a Segway program for public safety officers in Pottstown, electric and hybrid vehicles for public safety and facilities staff in Blue Bell, and an increased effort to promote bicycle accessibility at all MCCC locations.

Since signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, Montgomery County Community College has put into place policies and procedures to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. As a result of its efforts, MCCC is a two-time recipient of Second Nature’s national Climate Leadership Award. To learn more about MCCC’s sustainability initiative, visit mc3green.wordpress.com.

GVF Assistant Director Maureen Farrell (far right) and Action News Anchor Matt O’Donnell (far left) present (from left) Peggy Lee-Clark, MCCC executive director of government relations, and Dr. Celeste Schwartz, MCCC vice president for information technology and college services, with a platinum level sustainability award. Photo courtesy of GVF

GVF Assistant Director Maureen Farrell (far right) and Action News Anchor Matt O’Donnell (far left) present (from left) Peggy Lee-Clark, MCCC executive director of government relations, and Dr. Celeste Schwartz, MCCC vice president for information technology and college services, with a platinum level sustainability award. Photo courtesy of GVF

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.

‘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.


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 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.

Monthly Shuttle Rider Updates Now Available

shuttle report thumbStarting this fall, the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF) is providing the College with monthly ridership reports for its transportation shuttle program. The Shuttle Ridership Summaries are filed under the Data & Reporting tab.

Click here to read the August-September report or October report (PDF).

Transportation Update: 2012-13 Academic Year Shuttle Stats

by Paul Goraczko, Think Green Correspondent

The 2012-2013 academic year marked the third, and most effective, installment of Montgomery County Community College’s shuttle program.

This year 10,432 riders took advantage of the free service that transports students, faculty, and staff between the College’s West Campus in Pottstown and the Central Campus in Blue Bell.

Last year, only 8,450 riders used the service. Thus, ridership is up 23 percent from last year.

The increase in ridership has had a number of green-friendly effects.

The Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVFTMA), the organization that manages the shuttle, estimates that the shuttle helped to eliminate the potential emission of 54,515.8 metric tons of greenhouse gases.

Additionally, with an average daily ridership of 72 passengers, the shuttle reduced vehicle usage by 3,546 miles daily. Thus, with 144 days of service, the shuttle reduced vehicle usage by more than half a million miles.

The increase in ridership has helped the College not only go green by reducing the College’s carbon footprint, it has also helped the College to save green.

The cost per rider from the 2011-2012 academic year was $10.50 per rider; this year, the cost per rider was only $8.96—a 15 percent decrease in the cost per rider from last year.

The campus shuttle also allowed the College to phase out its courier system in October 2012, thus reducing carbon output by an additional 12.5 metric tons per year and saving the College roughly $4,300 a year.

The College’s need to expand from a 14-passenger vehicle to a 20-passenger vehicle to accommodate increased student demand early in 2012 illustrates how the shuttle is yet another success story of the College’s Sustainability Initiative.

All told, the shuttle helped to eliminate about 54,527.5 metric tons of carbon emissions and save more than 522,144 miles of vehicle usage this academic year.

To defray costs and ensure efficiency, the College does not operate the shuttle during the summer. The College does, however, encourage students to use SEPTA or Zimride, the College’s ridesharing program.

Zimride is an industry leading rideshare service that provides a safe and easy way for students and staff to arrange carpooling through a College Community network that fully integrates with Facebook and Twitter.

The service encourages students to cut down gas costs, protect the environment, and meet new people.

Zimride is just another way that the college is keeping its commitment to carbon reduction.

Since combining efforts with Zimride, the College has posted 1,197,760 carpooling miles, which equates to a potential CO2 Reduction of 263,507 lbs.

And a reminder for all those who drive energy-efficient vehicles — the Green Lot by the Advanced Technology Center at the Central Campus remains open and available for those who carpool or those who drive vehicles with 25 MPG or greater.