Annual Earth Week Celebration: Earth Art Competition

This year during Earth Week, EvCC Sustainability is partnering with the Art Department to host an Earth Art Competition. This competition is open to any currently enrolled EvCC student, staff or faculty. Prizes are as follows:

1st place: $300.00
2nd place: $200.00
Peoples Choice: $150.00

Competition rules:
1. 
Entries must be at least 75% reclaimed, recycled, upcycled or otherwise reused.
2. Entries must be ready to put on display in the Whitehorse Hall Critique Space by Tuesday, April 17. They will remain on display through Thursday April 19, the day in which the entries will be judged. Judging will take place between 1 pm and 3 pm on April 19.
3. All entries must be removed from the Whitehorse Hall Critique Space by 3:00 pm on Friday, April 20. Any entries left in the Critique Space beyond this time will become EvCC property and disposed of accordingly.

To sign up for this competition, follow this link and submit your entry form to EvCC Sustainability by emailing it to sustainability@everettcc.edu.

 

Utilities Trends Over the Years

This chart shows the year-to-year comparison of EvCC’s utilities consumption between 2015 and 2017. This chart tracks water, natural gas and electricity usage, as well as trash and recycling output. Lets do a break-down of each type of utility, and what this chart tells us about our usage.

Water

EvCC uses a lot of water. Water is used to irrigate flowerbeds and lawns, heating buildings, and of course, consumed by students and employees. Though there was a slight uptick in water usage between 2015 and 2016, the data for 2017 shows an approximately 30% reduction in water consumption. This is mostly due to a project taken on by Brent Sall from the Ground Crew, in which the valves on our irrigation system were updated in order to install a controller on each valve. This allows us to water our gardens and lawns more efficiently, reducing the amount of water needed.

Natural Gas

Natural gas powers the boilers on campus that provide the heat for all of our buildings. The unit of measurement for natural gas is therms, which is simply just a measurement of heat. It is equivalent to 1.055 × 108 joules. The data shows a steady decline in natural gas usage since 2016, a reduction of approximately 30%. Woo!

Electricity

Our electricity consumption, measured in kilowatt-hours (KWH) experienced a slight decline between 2015 and 2016, but after the opening of two new student housing buildings, our electricity consumption increased by approximately 50%. To address this, EvCC Sustainability plans to coordinate with Student Housing to implement energy savings practices, such as energy challenges for residents to participate in.

Trash and Recycle

Since co-mingled recycling came to campus in 2006, EvCC has managed to recycle the same, if not more, than it sends off to the landfill. During 2015 and 2016, most of EvCC’s solid waste output was recyclable material. But, once again, with the opening of Student Housing, the scales have tipped toward more landfill destined waste than recyclables. This may be due to a lack of education and outreach efforts to ensure our residents understand proper recycling practices. Just as EvCC Sustainability plans to address electricity consumption by working with Student Housing, we intend to work with them on reducing the amount of improperly disposed material as well.

The Takeaway

Sustainability is not a one-and-done project that can be left alone. It’s a continuous process of learning and collaborating to find innovative solutions that will further reduce our impact on the environment. And, we can’t do it alone! If you or your department is interested in finding ways to advance our sustainability mission, contact us at sustainability@everettcc.edu.

 

EvCC Wildlife Garden: 11/6/17 Update

Now that Phase 1 of this project is complete, it’s time to show off the hard work of our Grounds Crew. Take a look:

View of entire project site.
Close-up of the “Columbia Bowls,” basalt dishes that create ideal bird baths.
Flowering Dogwood
Vine Maple and Mountain Hemlocks

Three loads of compost and four loads of topsoil later, the results are better than we imagined! Currently the beds contain a mix of vine maples, one flowering dogwood, one rocky mountain fir tree, and a handful of mountain hemlocks. Phase two will consist of filling in the empty spaces between the trees with smaller shrubs, annuals and perennials.

And, just for fun, here’s John Syson celebrating by fishing out of the newly installed birdbaths.

John Syson, Grounds Crew Lead, fishing in the new bird baths

EvCC Wildlife Habitat Project: 10/18/17 Update

With the first frost upon us, the ground has been broken on the EvCC Wildlife Habitat project. Over the last few weeks, the turf has been killed but the grass and root material have been left in place in order to compost in the newly laid soil. This will provide additional organic matter and nutrients to the trees and shrubs that will soon be planted.

The next step taken was turning over the soil to break up the layer of roots near the surface, and fresh soil was incorporated to make the planting process easier. The next steps will be adding the plants and installing the bird baths, which will be constructed using Columbia Basalt dishes.

Columbia basalt dishes creates an ideal bird bath

Once the rest of the ground has been turned up and new soil laid on top, the rest of the project should be quickly coming to completion. Check back soon for more updates!

EvCC Grounds Crew laying new topsoil. (notice the steam rising in front of the tractor bucket)

UPCOMING EVENT: Energy Efficiency Fair by Snohomish County PUD

Purchase low cost energy efficiency appliances here on campus, on Wednesday October 18 from 11:30 am till 2:00 pm in the second floor hallway of Parks Student Union. The PUD team hosting this event will be selling a Home & Bath Savings Kit which includes 8 LEDs, 2 filament LEDs, a showerhead with smart adapter, and two faucet aerators for just $10.00 plus tax. This normally would cost $75.00 so don’t miss your chance to save up to $250.00 annually on energy costs for a fraction of the retail price. Also offered at this event is an LED flood light pack, that has the savings potential of up to $45.00 per year. Please read this flyer for more details.

 

Bike “Fixation” (Fixit Station) Update: 10-5-17

The Bike Fixation has been installed in front of Gray Wolf Hall near the existing bicycle rack in that area of campus. It is open to the public, free to use, and contains all the necessary equipment for regular maintenance and repairs on most types of bicycles. Check out the photos below!

The totals are in!

As the 2016-2017 school year officially comes to a close, many of us are reminiscing on the phenomenal year here at EvCC. For us in the sustainability business, it is no different. Except, rather than looking back at great memories, we are reviewing data collected on energy consumption and other utility usage, such as water and natural gas. In doing so, we’ve calculated the total amount of renewable energy generated by the Liberty Hall Rooftop Solar Array. Any guesses?

23,607 KWH of clean, green electricity, which is fed back into the grid rather than consumed directly by the campus. Considering an average US household consumes about 10,000 KWH of electricity each year, EvCC can proudly say that it provided a years worth of energy for at least 2 four-bedroom houses! A big thanks to the PUD and Washington State Legislature for the grant funding that put these panels on the roof of Liberty Hall! Hopefully, as the campus grows, the solar project will too, increasing our contribution to building a sustainable community!

DID YOU KNOW… That you can sign up for a tour of the Liberty Hall Rooftop Solar Array and see the green energy production in action? Just email us at sustainability@everettcc.edu with the subject “solar tours.”

EVCC Bike Fix It Stations: Updates!

EvCC will soon have a bicycle repair station on campus, generously donated by Everett Transit. This station will provide the equipment needed for regular maintenance and repairs on bicycles, and is intended to encourage more students, staff, faculty and the public to utilize alternative transportation to commute to school or work.

This repair station will be free and available to the public. As the final details of this project are still in the works, more information will be provided and posted on the EvCC Sustainability page on the main website. Stay tuned!

Upping the Ante on one of EvCC’s Greenest Buildings

The Walt Price Fitness Center, one of EvCC’s LEED Certified buildings

It’s no secret that EvCC has several LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified buildings on campus, and that we strive to meet energy efficiency standards wherever we can. The Walt Price Fitness Center, which opened in 2011, earned LEED Gold status, a testament to the sustainably managed construction and operation of the building. But, if you thought that we couldn’t take it any further, you’d be surprised to hear one simple idea that we applied to make this building even greener.

Steve Lyons and Jeremiah Berndt are our campus electricians, and they have spent the last several days swapping out the old compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs, in the fitness center with longer lasting and more efficient LED bulbs. To most people, the difference is hardly noticed. This would make almost no significant difference in your household electricity bill if you did the same – although we still recommend using the most energy efficient appliances in your home – but, in a building this large, at nearly 50,000 square feet, the difference is incredible.

Previously, the gym was lit up with a combination of 42 watt, 32 watt, and 26 watt CFLs, which all have an average lifespan of 1-2 years. With over 160 light fixtures, replacing them adds up over time. LED bulbs could last up to ten years depending on which type is used. But, even if we only get half of that with these new bulbs, that’s still twice as long as we would get out of the CFLs. Although the LEDs cost a little more than the CFLs, the investment is quickly paid off by reducing the frequency of replacing burnt out bulbs.

The LED bulbs are ran on 9 watts, which means that they consume less energy than CFLs. On average, using the LEDs could save us about $1,700 per year on utility costs compared to using CFLs. According to Steve Lyons, because the LEDs use less energy and produce less heat as a byproduct of emitting light, there is less damage to the ballasts and fixtures that hold the lights. This results in less maintenance on the fixtures and ballasts, which also saves money. This is harder to predict, but combining all of the cost saving potential for this small scale energy efficiency retrofit could save more than $2,000 annually on lighting, and reducing the amount of energy needed to light the fitness center by up to 75%.

 

New Garden at EvCC Represents Indigenous Cultures

Red Columbine, commonly found near streams and mountain meadows

Red Columbine, commonly found near streams and mountain meadows

Over the 2016-17 school year, a group of students have undertaken a project to bring a new sense of indigenous culture to our campus. The 1st Nations Club, co-advised by Brian Ramos from the Workforce Funding Department, has slowly been converting a section of the wooded area in the heart of campus to an Indigenous Garden, putting in native plants such as Red Columbine, Miners Lettuce, and Nootka Rose to name a few.

EvCC has a history of representing indigenous cultures on campus, through the various pieces of art donated to the college by some local tribes. There is a totem pole in the northwest section of campus outside of Olympus Hall, and the Thunderbird Killer Whale sculpture is located on the edge of the site of the new garden.

A student and staff member planting Bleeding Hearts

When asked about the purpose of this project, the students were eager to tell the story. They explained how this garden, to them, represents the success of native people, and how they’ve overcome many challenges to get to where they are today.

“I am this plant, I am of this Earth,” said Erik Sanchez, a student working on the project, “It’s really cool to feel connected.”

The group has finished with the planting, and over time will be adding outdoor furniture to resemble a traditional native gathering area. The project will continue throughout the rest of the school year as well as into the future.

A student adds fertilizer to a planting spot
Erik Sanchez, one of the students working on this garden.