The California Community Colleges Board of Governors selected Santa Monica College as the winner of its annual Energy and Sustainability Award in the area of Facilities and Operations.
SMC was recognized for its Energy Project, which was developed and approved by the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees in 2012 and included three main components: replacing nine old and inefficient boilers; replacing 11,000 of the approximately 16,000 light fixtures on the campus and a comprehensive renovation of the Santa Monica College Center for Environmental and Urban Studies.
On the main campus, a total of nine boilers were replaced with new, energy efficient boilers. The light fixtures were replaced with a combination of fluorescent and LED (light emitting diode) lights. The renovation of the Center for Environmental and Urban Studies featured the installation of a three-stage heating system. The first stage consolidated all computer equipment into an existing server closet. Waste heat is captured from the computers and pumped through the building. The second stage was a solar thermal heating system and the third stage was an electrical heating element housed in the solar thermal tank and powered by the center’s existing solar photovoltaic system. The energy project also included sealing the envelope of the building by installing new windows, blown-in cellulose insulation, weather stripping, and insulation in the ceiling and crawl space.
“It’s great to see the advances that our colleges are making in sustainability and saving energy, which ultimately saves money,” California Community Colleges Board of Governors President Manuel Baca said. “When I see the winning entries I can’t help but be proud of how our colleges are leading the way in this field. We started these awards to highlight and reward exemplary energy and sustainability efforts on our campuses and to help motivate others. When we take steps and to save energy and create sustainability there are no losers.”
Fifty nominations were received in the three categories, up from 46 entries from last year, the first year the award was given. Representatives from the three winning colleges will be given the awards at the May 7 board of governors meeting in Sacramento.
“We are proud of the award winners and nominees who continue to show us the way in saving energy and applying sustainable practices,” said California Community Colleges Board of Governors member Henry A.J. Ramos, who was instrumental in establishing the award program. “What our colleges are doing locally can and should be replicated throughout the state, the nation and the world. These awards confirm that the California Community Colleges continue to be leaders in sustainable practices, efforts and ideas.”