Bristol Community College
Bristol Community College has implemented several opportunities to educate students in the realm of sustainability. The new Sustainability Studies program allows for a liberal arts degree or certificate in Sustainability Studies offering an entry into the societal challenges and opportunities offered by climate change, resource consumption, and energy use. A Social Science-based sustainability education prepares students for the ecological realities facing society and enables them to apply sustainability knowledge at work, home, and in the community.
Sustainable Agriculture is another program available at BCC, allowing students to achieve an associate in Science in Life Sciences (Sustainable Agriculture). The goal of the Sustainable Agriculture program is designed to address the issues of a safe, reliable food supply and the environmental relationships of agriculture with resource use, energy consumption and climate change. To do so, students learn practical training to prepare them for a future in sustainable farming and gardening.
Along with BCC’s online green and renewable energy courses, the College offers another opportunity—BCC’s Green Building Technology Certificate program. This program specifically prepares students for green building construction and provides them with a working knowledge of energy efficiency, conservation and construction estimating techniques. Graduates will be prepared to complete the LEED Green Associate certification, which denotes basic knowledge of green design, construction, and operations.
Lastly, BCC students and faculty created Seeds of Sustainability, a student club that encourages education, leadership, and the practice of sustainable living. With these initiatives, BCC has created a substantial framework for the future of sustainability studies.
In addition to the programs listed above, BCC has developed several initiatives on campus to prepare and inform the community on the direction the planet is heading.
BCC’s Institute for Sustainability and Post-Carbon Education (ISPE) strives to educate the public on the threats, challenges, and opportunities posed by climate change and continued use of non-renewable energy sources. Through educational programs like Electro-Mechanical with Green Energy Technology, Environmental Science, Environmental Technology, and Water Quality Professional, ISPE sheds light on the worldwide impacts of climate change and Peak Oil.
Several HydroBoost water bottle filling stations were installed at BCC with the goal of reducing the amount of plastic water bottles being thrown away annually on each campus. These stations have become a powerful visual, because they display the number of water bottles saved with each use.
To help minimize the amount of resources used on campus, BCC implemented greenPRINT, a print management system designed to raise awareness of the increase in printing at academic institutions. GreenPRINT has saved nearly 70,000 sheets of paper, which is equivalent to 6,533 gallons of wastewater and 593 pounds of solid waste.
BCC has also created several campus-wide policies to help reduce its environmental footprint, including an Energy Conservation Policy, an Energy Star Purchasing Policy, an Anti-idling Policy, and a ban on incandescent lightbulbs.
Since the signing of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, BCC has continued to work with local organizations to reduce the environmental impact of campus operations in a big way. LED light fixtures were installed as retrofit to the college’s existing parking lot lights with projected savings of 91,249 kWh per year at an annual cost savings of $13,687.
In partnership with PowerOptions, BCC installed a 3.2 megawatt solar array covering 800 parking spaces on the Fall River Campus. This solar canopy not only provides shady parking spots, but also avoids emissions of more than 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide each year.
BCC was awarded by the State for its comprehensive approach to clean energy. Specifically highlighted, was a $4.9 Million Energy and Water Conservation Improvement Project that reduced water consumption by 47 percent and building energy consumption by 24 percent annually.
The largest impact recently made by BCC was the construction of the John J. Sbrega Health and Science building. With the invaluable help of Sasaki Associates, BOND Construction, and Bard, Rao, and Athanas (BR + A) Consulting Engineers, the LEED Platinum rated building became the largest Zero Net Energy classroom and science lab building in the Northeast. With the help of the interior design and the underground geothermal well system, the building produces enough on-site energy to supply its heating, cooling, and electricity demands.