Please describe your institution's greenhouse gas mitigation strategies.
KCCs carbon emissions mitigation strategy is a 40 year plan to efficiently and effectively work toward carbon neutrality. A flexible and sustainable approach will allow for steady emissions reductions, and adoption of innovative solutions over the life of the plan. The plan will be updated at regular intervals to account for changes in technology, the economy, behavioral changes, and regulations, and to track progress and ensure its success.
KCC is a commuter school with over 6,600 students (2,669 FTEs) and 451 faculty and staff. Consequently our Scope 3 emission sources, resulting from student, faculty, and staff commuting, represent 51.5% of the net total emissions. While current efforts include encouraging carpooling and the use of the bus service as well as other alternative transportation to and from campus, it may prove difficult to significantly change this situation.
Purchased electricity is the only Scope 2 source, and generates 34.75% of the net total. This category has the greatest potential for making changes to reduce the level of emissions from the college significantly. Reducing electrical demand for lights and equipment by retrofitting with higher efficiency components, tuning-up, and replacing existing systems will have the desired effect. Seeking alternative power sources (renewable energy wind farm sources) and installing on-campus alternative power generation equipment (wind turbines, solar photovoltaic arrays) will also reduce the carbon foot print of the campus.
The remaining emissions result from Scope 1 sources which comprise 13.71% of the net total emissions. Natural gas consumption for campus heating generates the largest amount of emissions and fugitive releases from refrigerants (HVAC maintenance) and chemicals account for most of the rest. Mitigation strategies include more efficient operation of the heating facilities, installation of higher efficiency systems, better insulation, or utilizing alternative heating sources such as solar thermal or geothermal.
Please describe your institution's plans to make sustainability a part of the
curriculum for all students.
On-going meetings with faculty address the content and context of learning and the process of education. Rather than create a special course or degree program on Sustainability or Climate Neutrality, KCC is taking the approach that sustainability is a very inclusive area of study that encompasses elements of many disciplines, making it difficult to deconstruct and categorize given our present structure of higher education.
KCC integrates renewable energy certifications into existing Electrical Technology A.A.S. degree programs, supplementing the skills-set of electricians and electrical technicians and widening their opportunities for employment in a vital, emerging field. These certification courses are a Survey of Renewable Energy Technologies and three hands-on, lab-based courses in: solar-thermal technology, solar-PV technology, and small-wind energy technology. The annual course capstone projects will allow students the opportunity to install working 1KW PV arrays and the balance of system components, install working solar thermal collectors, and assemble and install 1 kW wind turbines.
Other curricula incorporating sustainability philosophy at KCC include Basic Science, English, Journalism, Marketing, HVAC/R, Automotive, and Horticulture/Agriculture courses.
We are currently engaged in a process of creating a vision for sustainability education at KCC by focusing on student outcomes, competencies, strategies, and resources for faculty.
Please describe your institution's plans to expand research efforts toward the
achievement of climate neutrality.
While we are currently researching best methods for including sustainability in our curricula, and developing curricula to meet the new market demand for green jobs, as a two-year community college, we do not have the resources for research that 4-year schools enjoy. Consequently we actively seek to partner with the larger universities on research projects as they become available.
Please describe your institution's plans to expand community outreach efforts toward the
achievement of climate neutrality.
In 2008, KCC received a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to create the Illinois Community College Sustainability Network and to begin to establish Sustainability Centers on college campuses across the state. In 2010, the Network changed its name to the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN) with all 48 Illinois community colleges as members, and hired an Executive Director. IGEN provides a focus for campus and community educational experiences and the ability to share these experiences with colleagues around the state and nationally.
KCC has also created a Council for Community Sustainability to advance sustainable development in the communities we serve with a structured approach. The Council’s scope includes:
• Designing a Green Community and works with local Chambers of Commerce, Mayors Offices, architects, builders and planners and focuses on professional education for the building industry, assistance with energy audits and LEED certification, deconstruction, building codes, transportation, and municipal planning.
• Energy Efficiency for Facilities including the Facility Managers and Physical Plant representatives from the largest employers in Kankakee County, and explores best practices as well as money- and energy-saving techniques.
• Green Jobs and Business Development helping the Council align itself with the goals and initiatives of area-wide businesses and community organizations and explores the creation of green jobs in collaboration with workforce development initiatives, KCCs Corporate and Continuing Education Division, the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County, the Small Business Association, and other interested parties. Community recycling efforts, bike lanes and trails, and waste management are some of the areas being addressed.
• Sustainable Agriculture/Local Foods supporting local food/slow food initiatives and fair trade, explores models for sustainable agriculture, permaculture, and local food policy.
In 2011, the Council began a Green Drinks, Kankakee group that provides a monthly forum for community discussions and presentations.