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Santa Monica College Wins Sustainability Award

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

By Lookout Staff
May 9, 2013 -- Santa Monica College won the statewide annual Energy and Sustainability Awards competition for its efforts to make its facilities and operations more green, college officials announced Wednesday.
One of three community colleges to take home awards from a field of 50 applicants, SMC won in the facilities and operations category for its “Energy Project.”

The project includes replacing inefficient boilers and light fixtures and renovating the SMC Center for Environmental and Urban Studies.

“SMC is a leader in sustainability, but there is always more work to be done,” said Genevieve Bertone, SMC’s director of sustainability. “Hopefully, our efforts will serve as a model to other institutions.”

Approved last year by the SMC Board of Trustees, the project called for replacing nine old and inefficient boilers with ones that are energy efficient, replacing 11,000 of the approximately 16,000 light fixtures on the campus to accommodate new fluorescent and LED lights and comprehensively renovate the environmental center.

The renovation included consolidating all computer equipment into an existing server closet, where “waste heat” could be captured and pumped through the building.

It also called for installing a solar thermal heating system and 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,” college officials said.

The award is the latest given to the college, which was a 2009 winner of Santa Monica’s Sustainable Quality Awards for its environmental practices and programs.
The college also has the largest solar panel installation in the city of Santa Monica and has two “green” job-training programs – one in solar installation, the other in recycling and resource management. SMC is the first college in the nation to offer a degree in recycling.

Other community colleges that won awards were Victor Valley College, for district leadership, and West Valley College, which took the top prize in the faculty/student initiatives category.

The three categories are sponsored by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, which started the awards to “highlight and reward exemplary energy and sustainability efforts on our campuses and to help motivate others.”

“It’s great to see the advances that our colleges are making in sustainability and saving energy, which ultimately saves money,” said Manuel Baca, president of the Board of Governors. “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.

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