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Raritan Valley Community College Finds its Success in Green Partnership with EPA

Release Date: 06/16/2009
Contact Information: Jennifer May, (212) 637-3658 or (646) 369-0069, may.jennifer@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) “Find Your Success” is Raritan Valley Community College’s (RVCC) motto, and the school is doing just that by greening its campus through an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The college has committed to build on and enhance the efforts already in place to reduce its carbon footprint. RVCC and EPA today signed an agreement that outlines goals and strategies for energy and water conservation, solid waste management, green design and transportation. Raritan Valley will track the results of these efforts and submit reports to EPA every six months. The agreement is the first of its kind between EPA and a community college.

“Raritan Valley Community College is taking a huge step toward reducing its campus’ greenhouse gas emissions,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator George Pavlou. “Campus life and the environment will be improved by the commitments the college is making today.”

“The RVCC community has demonstrated a strong commitment to protecting the environment. Last year, we became one of the first community colleges in the nation to rely on co-generation to power our campus, resulting in greater fuel efficiency and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. This landmark agreement lays the foundation for RVCC to become a national leader in promoting environmental responsibility on college campuses,” said RVCC President Dr. Casey Crabill.

The following are highlights of the agreement between the Raritan Valley Community College and EPA. RVCC will:

  • Become an ENERGY STARŪ partner and commit to reducing energy use campus-wide by at least 10 percent. To reach this goal, it will conduct energy audits of campus buildings, install a voltage reducer for lighting of the college’s pool, and install occupancy sensory and energy efficient lighting, including LEDs (light-emitting diodes).
  • Explore opportunities to install solar photovoltaic systems on campus where possible and is evaluating options to purchase other types of green power.
  • Work through EPA’s GreenScapes program to implement an environmental grounds keeping plan. To start, the college will eliminate the use of herbicides and use only organic fertilizers starting on July 1, 2009.
  • Join EPA’s WasteWise program and increase its recycling efforts, including adding 75 recycling containers across campus.
  • Send all bio-degradable food and kitchen waste to an off-site composting facility.
  • Use, when possible, construction materials that are made of recycled content, that are manufactured within a 500 mile radius and that have low levels of volatile organic compounds, which can cause health problems. The college will also recycle waste generated from new construction and renovations on campus when possible.
  • Use EPA-certified WaterSense products, which improve water efficiency. The college has already installed waterless urinals and metering faucets across campus.
  • Build all future campus buildings to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification standards. The college is undergoing evaluation from the U.S. Green Building Council on whether designs for two campus buildings meet LEED green building certification.
  • Include the use ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and the best available pollution retrofit technologies in its specifications for all future facility construction projects.
  • Implement idling reduction measures for its campus vehicles and encourage service vendors and other vehicles to do the same.
  • Use vehicles with improved fuel economy and reduced emissions for its campus fleet, and provide preferred parking spots for faculty, staff and students driving hybrid or alternatively-fueled vehicles.

RVCC currently uses cogeneration on its campus, a more efficient way of producing power. In May 2007, it installed a 1.4 megawatt cogeneration engine, becoming the first community college in the country to do so. This cogenerated power reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 1,900 tons per year.

EPA has similar agreements in place with the New York Jets and New York Giants for the new Meadowlands Stadium, the New York Mets for the team’s new Citi Field stadium, the Destiny USA mall project in Syracuse, N.Y., the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J., Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J., and St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y. For more information on EPA green construction and operations agreements, visit http://www.epa.gov/region02/greenteam/.

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