Going green contributes to MCC’s energy efficency

By Levi Spring, Staff Writer –

icon_recyclingMCC has long been a leader in recycling and saving energy.

As a matter of fact, it was the first community college in West Michigan to have a

gymnasium lit entirely by LED bulbs. These bulbs efficiently use energy at one-quarter the rate

of traditional light bulbs.

In addition, the parking lots on the main campus as well as some offices have also been

transitioned to energy-saving LED lighting methods.

“The greatest challenge in our recycling program is having students, staff, guests, and

employees actually participate in recycling,” said Stanley Dean, custodial services supervisor of

the physical plant. “It’s an age-old challenge.”

He also listed several other significant energy-saving efforts on campus:

 Five quad bins across campus to collect paper, glass, tin, metal, cardboard and plastics.

 Multiple blue waste watcher bins located across campus, which collect metal, glass,

plastic and cans.

 Each office has small blue recycling baskets.

 All classrooms have a paper recycling box.

 Eight 5-gallon document collection bins on campus, used for shredding of secure

documents.

There also are several multi-collection bins across campus for consumers to presort waste, as well as plastics, metals, glass and paper. - Photos by Grace Dowling.
There also are several multi-collection bins across campus for consumers to presort waste, as well as plastics, metals, glass and paper. – Photos by Grace Dowling.

Students and employees have become quite used to seeing and using the bins and

recycling boxes.

However, MCC is also focused on planning and researching more innovative and

complex ideas.

The last building project to be funded and completed two years ago was an addition to the

science wing. It used closely followed guidelines set by the Michigan Energy Code and the U.S.

Green Building Council’s program called (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

(LEED).

“LEED certified buildings save money and resources and have a positive impact on the

health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy,” noted on a brochure about the

science project by the U.S. Green Building Council.

MCC has established clear vision for striving to make a positive impact on its carbon

imprint and power reliability.

“We are currently at the inroads of sustainability and energy use,” said Gerald Nyland,

director of the MCC physical plant. “What we do here goes way beyond the perimeters of the

Michigan Energy Code and LEED.”

MCC has many blue waste watcher bins that collect metal, class, plastic and cans. The items are then shipped to the Muskegon County Recyclling Center.
MCC has many blue waste watcher bins that collect metal,
class, plastic and cans. The items are then shipped to the Muskegon County Recyclling Center.

Nyland also highlighted a new engineering study currently being conducted on MCC’s

campus. This case study is being pursued by MCC administrators, who hope to develop a new

cogeneration plant, otherwise called combined heat and power (CHP). Small CHP or micro

cogeneration plants are an example of independent and decentralized

energy, Nyland explained.

“A project and mission for cogeneration is cutting-edge for a college this size,” he said.

“The potential is huge.”

A CHP plant of this type built for MCC would be the first of its kind in West Michigan.

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