The Everett Wind Team is a combined effort from Washington State University Everett and Everett Community College that’s working on exciting new turbine designs and projects for an upcoming interdisciplinary wind energy competition. They need help from students pursuing a wide variety of majors. This is a great opportunity to learn, network, and add some community service to a resume.
EvCC Grounds works hard to manage campus grounds with an eye towards sustainability. This ethic was demonstrated recently when a tree located west of the Olympus building outgrew it’s location.
Rather than cutting down the tree, campus grounds employees John Syson, Brent Sall and Scotty Smith used campus equipment to relocate the beautiful Liquidambar Styraciflua or Liquid Amber (commonly known as an American Sweetgum).
At 30 inches in diameter and 30 feet tall, the average cost for a commercial move or purchase of a tree this size would have been $1500.00 – $2000.00! Grounds transplanted the tree for about $70.00.
The tree was removed from the Lot “A” west flower bed and planted in Lot “C” on the hillside.
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.
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 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!
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.
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 email@example.com.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “solar tours.”
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%.
EvCC is ready to break ground on the wildlife habitat (Bird Garden) installation, funded by EvCC, Snohomish County Conservation District and the Pilchuck Audubon Society. Pre project pics of the largely turf covered area between the West wall of Index B and the East wall of Graywolf hall show minimal landscaping and LOTS of grass…
The project, scheduled for completion in late September of 2017, will include native plants that are bird habitat friendly as well as a water feature.
The project will not only create a wildlife habitat, but beautify this corner of the campus.
EvCC and the Pilchuck Audubon Society are in the beginning stages of planning for a wildlife habitat installation designed to support the local avian population.
EvCC Sustainability team members Molly Beeman and Max Tinsley met with Jed Holmes, the Pilchuck Audubon Society’s Backyard Habitat Coordinator late last month to determine a suitable site on EvCC’s main campus to develop a bird friendly habitat.
EvCC Sustainability and Pilchuck Audubon are currently working on developing the necessary resources for this project, which will likely be completed by summer of 2018.
On completion, the project will provide habitable spaces for bird nest construction and native plants that attract insects to support the feeding of avian young.
The completed project will result in a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife certified backyard wildlife sanctuary for Everett Community College.