Montgomery College, Green Where it Needs to be

Original April 26, 2011 Issue 15

By: Jeff Danovich

Staff Writer

School community does its part to help environment

Take a quick glance at the Montgomery College parking lot and you are bound to see it dotted with models like the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrids, and other eco-freindly vehicles. Look beyond the parking lot at the new Science Center and you will see a high tech building design that reduces energy consumption by nearly 48 percent. Walk further around the Rockville Campus; you will see both native and drought resistant trees planted everywhere. Students and the college are doing their part to reduce their overall carbon footprint.

Montgomery College has a plan in place for sustainability and the use (both in the present and in the future) of clean energy. This plan includes resource conservation, support for public transportation throughout Montgomery County, storm water management and installation of photovoltaic solar energy systems on campus buildings. Montgomery College also offers courses in green technology and sustainability through their Workforce Development and Continuing Education programs. This is done locally through a partnership between the college, Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.

The new Science Center will be Montgomery College’s first building to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification. The fact that the building will receive Gold Certification does not diminish the environmental impact of other buildings on campus. All buildings built or renovated since 1985 are required to meet strict energy and environmental standards. This results in both overall energy reduction and reduction of our environmental footprint. Not only do the efforts have a positive environmental impact, but they actually reduce overall energy costs by nearly $300,000, a reduction of 39.2 percent.

Montgomery College students are also doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint. Many students take public transportation to and from school. Whether it’s an economic reason, or a conscious decision to impact the environment, their actions do reduce overall usage of fossil fuels.

Montgomery College student Robyn Nachtsheim says, “I take full advantage of Ride On to get back and forth to school, and since I live in Silver Spring, sometimes I walk to (Takoma Park/Silver Spring) campus when the weather is nice and I have class there. I know it’s not much considering there is so much pollution on this Earth, but every little bit helps.” In honor of Earth Day, Montgomery College campuses held Earth Day Festivals, recycling drives, and clothing donation drives.

There are some other ways that we can all reduce our carbon footprint. Simple tasks such as planting a tree or not leaving your phone or laptop charger plugged in will have a positive impact on our environment. Trees take in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen, reducing the amount of ozone in the atmosphere. Trees also (once matured) provide cooling shade on warm days. When the phone or laptop charger is left on with no cell phone attached to it, electricity is drawn out from the outlet.

The fact that electricity does not go towards charging batteries is wasteful. A way to improve your vehicle’s energy efficiency is to keep tires filled. Many gas stations have air pumps available for as little as $0.25 or even free. We can all do our small part to make positive change on the environment. No act is too small.