Green Campus Initiative

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Atlantic Cape Community College Launches Green Campus Initiative

Atlantic Cape Community College has taken tangible steps to implement the Blueprint 2020 master plan, with the goal to greatly upgrade and expand the Mays Landing Campus on an ongoing basis through the year 2020.

Included in Blueprint 2020 is Atlantic Cape’s second Energy Master Plan, which actively drives the Green Campus Initiative. The main purpose is to address and implement concepts that support the NJ Energy Master Plan in reducing greenhouse emissions statewide, and moves the College toward environmental stewardship based on the efficient, responsible and sustainable use of resources.

A History of Atlantic Cape’s Commitment to the Environment

Atlantic Cape was environmentally friendly and energy conscious long before the term “green” was even in vogue.

For more than 15 years, the College has actively pursued and investigated green and energy-saving programs and technologies. These included the reduction of waste streams through recycling, the elimination of potential ground contamination through the removal of underground storage tanks, removal of harmful CFC refrigerants from central chillers and the installation of motion detectors on lighting systems and vending machines.

Atlantic Cape established its first Five Year Energy Master Plan in 1995 as a collaborative agreement with Conectiv Solutions. The three-phase plan identified lighting, cooling and mechanical improvements resulting in a 250 kilowatt demand reduction—the annual equivalent of 1.1 million kilowatts at a savings of $120,000 per year, and a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to 790 metric tons per year.

Participation in Green Programs

Atlantic Cape also participates in such programs as the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Lights and Energy Star Buildings, New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability and New Jersey Smart Start, which has yielded more than $100,000 in rebates and incentives.
Since 2000, Charles Boyer Hall (B-2) on the Mays Landing Campus has been heated and cooled through a water-to-water heat pump geothermal system. The 40 closed well system has a 100-ton cooling capacity and uses the constant temperature of the earth to reduce the costs of the heating and cooling requirements of the facilities. Silas Moore Hall (B-1) and Samuel Richards Hall (B-3) were added to the system in 2005. The B-Complex geothermal system has a life cycle savings of $725,000.

As a result of its ongoing efforts to explore and implement green concepts, the College was recognized in 2000 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which awarded Atlantic Cape a Certificate of Achievement for its voluntary commitment to Energy Star buildings. Atlantic Cape was the first community college and the first customer in Atlantic Electric’s (now Atlantic City Electric) territory to receive an Energy Star rating.

Atlantic Cape to ‘LEED’ the Way

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The College has committed to the new construction of Blueprint 2020 buildings to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) specifications, as set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The LEED Green Building Rating System provides a set of standards for environmentally sustainable construction. Launched in 1998, LEED supports—and provides certification for—buildings that have healthier work and living environments, which contribute to higher productivity and improved employee health and comfort. The benefits to the overall community range from improved air and water quality to reduced solid waste.

Here Comes the Power of the Sun

Atlantic Cape is also in the process of investigating roof-top mounted photovoltaic solar panels on existing buildings at all three campuses to promote solar energy. In addition, Atlantic Cape is also studying the possibilities of installing ground mounted solar arrays over some of the parking lot areas. In January 2009, the College received approval from New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program for a rebate of $1.57 million for this work.

In other green developments, the College is considering the purchase of a hybrid vehicle for staff travel.

Educating Others to Help Our Planet

Atlantic Cape will academically support the Green Campus Initiative by offering courses in environmentally friendly building and construction.

The Academy grows some of its own produce, and buys local foods. The ACA also has an herb garden and utilizes two grapevines located on campus. All of these practices help to reduce the College’s carbon footprint. The College greenhouse was renovated and the ACA grows organic vegetables and produce. The plan is to acquire a hydroponic table for growing vegetables without soil and implementing a recycling program that will include wet waste, to reduce what is sent to landfills.

Ultimately, the Green Campus Initiative will encompass all aspects of College life, operations, academic and training programs, and student participation.