PASADENA, Calif. — Green Technology magazine, alongside partners Gen7 and Panasonic, honored a number of institutions leading the way in sustainability at the Green California Schools & Community Colleges Summit in Pasadena earlier this month. The event celebrated a variety of green and sustainable projects and facilities across the state on both the community college and school level.
Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif., was honored in the Resource Management category. The community college uses reclaimed water for irrigation on 95 percent of its campus, saving more than 30 million gallons of domestic water annually. Facility staff has also integrated a number of drought-resistant plants and native vegetation into the school’s landscaping.
The event’s Energy award was given to San Bernardino Community College District, which worked with an energy conservation management firm to reduce its electric consumption by almost 24 million BTUs. The Energy Star partner school also established several LEED-certified buildings and contains one of the state’s largest solar farms.
Established as an institute for workforce development in renewable energy and sustainability, College of the Desert’s Energy Enterprise Center in Palm Springs, Calif. received the event’s Curriculum award for its training in both utility-scale and residential/commercial-scale solar arrays, as well as wind turbine maintenance, advanced lighting controls and other programs. These programs have resulted in many employment and new career opportunities for the region’s unemployed workers.
Coastline Community College’s Newport Beach Learning Center offers a variety of courses in a facility that uses the site’s mild climate and balances nature and technology. The building features a rooftop garden, natural ventilation, stormwater management, living walls and optimized daylighting, earning it LEED Gold certification.
The Oceanside Unified School District was the first in the nation to formally adopt a Zero Waste Schools Resolution, demonstrating both the district and students’ commitment to effective resource management and environmental stewardship. These efforts include sustainable and organic gardening, water and energy conservation, alternative energy projects and environmentally preferable purchasing, impacting approximately 20,000 students.
Removing traditionally irrigated lawns and converting them into edible and learning gardens earned the Pasadena Unified School District the Water Management award. The district used the local water utility’s turf removal rebate to install low volume, point source drip irrigation systems throughout the district, with a commitment to making the effort district-wide, reducing both water dependence and the labor and gas needed to maintain turf.
The Campbell Union School District’s plan to reduce natural resource dependence by 80 to 100 percent earned it the Energy award. Presently, the district has established net zero energy facilities on eight campuses — the first being Blackford School in San Jose. That facility in particular requires no artificial lighting during school hours, and features automated windows and louvers to heat and cool the building. A solar “cool roof” and energy management system lower energy consumption while passive ventilation keeps the building comfortable.
La Escuelita Education Center in the Oakland Unified School District is located on the district’s first grid-neutral campus and is a Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) certified facility. The inner city, mixed use K-5 school received one of the state’s highest CHPS ratings thanks to its solar photovoltaic arrays, maximized daylighting and ventilation, and rainwater collection system.