2014 MOU Annual Report to EPA

2014 MOU Annual Report to EPA
The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding Update #9 (MOUU9) is to document Raritan
Valley Community College’s continuous improvement as outlined in the original MOU document
to commit to partner with the EPA as an environmental steward that pledges to reduce its carbon
footprint and generally contribute to a better environment.
RVCC’s commitment to continuous improvement involves: using EPA’s environmental
stewardship programs to develop policies, practices, and specifications for environmental
efficiency standards; increasing stewardship awareness; remaining current with EPA regulations
and guidelines; increasing involvement and recognition of RVCC’s stakeholders in environmental
sustainability programs; partnering with local government on environmental initiatives; and
addressing environmental concerns swiftly. RVCC recognizes EPA’s program requirements for
outreach and involvement, data collection and reporting, and will strive to become a recognized
leader and a candidate for EPA environmental stewardship awards.
The sections below are highlights of the improvements made over the past 12 months (January
through December 2014) since the previous update of the agreement in January 2014.
Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report
In December, Sustainability & Energy Coordinator Sue Dorward completed the College’s
FY2013-14 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report. RVCC’s Scope 1 and 2 net emissions have
decreased by 51.1% since 2005, despite a 7.3% increase in heating and cooling degree days,
a 13.5% increase in building space, and a 41.7% increase in fall/spring students on campus.
This includes a purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs) to offset electricity generation
emissions. Without taking these credits into consideration, RVCC still achieved a Scope 1 and 2
gross emissions reduction of 42.5% since 2005. With the College’s recent contracts to
purchase 100% green power (see the Green Power Partnership section), we expect net emissions
to decrease another 17% in the next year.
Clean Energy
RVCC’s 446 kW solar array partially powers the Arts building and Childcare Center. During the
reporting period, the array generated 495 MWh, roughly 89% of the electrical usage of the Arts
and Childcare Center buildings. Note that the College does not own the SRECs for this installation.
RVCC continues to operate a 1.4MW cogeneration engine. This allows for much greater
improvement in overall fuel efficiency, resulting in lower operating costs and CO2 emissions.
When running properly, the plant is able to reduce carbon emissions by 1900 tons per year and
energy savings is estimated to be approximately $400,000 annually. Energy generated during the
reporting period was 1087 MWh of active power and 169 Mvarh of re-active power. The engine
was down for a few months due to mechanical problems.
ENERGY STAR Building & Plant Partnership
Energy Conservation
RVCC continues to take advantage of SmartStart funding for new lighting projects. Thanks to the
initiative of Assistant Facilities Director Philip Weaver and installation by staff electrician Glenn
Frank, 300 fixtures and bulbs were upgraded to LEDs, reducing our electricity usage by 24
kW. A new motion sensor in the gym controls 7.6 kW. 140 energy efficient bulbs and fixtures
were installed in the new Student Center, which opened in February. The SmartStart program
provided a total of $13,895 in incentives to help fund these efforts.
In the Gym, 32 fixtures were replaced and a sensor was added. In the Theater, 68 incandescent
bulbs were replaced with LEDs. In the Arts building, 145 incandescent bulbs were replaced with
LEDs. Other LED lighting projects were in the Library (3 2x2s), Bookstore (48 bulbs), College
Center 22 (12 2x2s), and the Cafeteria (1 2x2). See the Lighting tab of the data spreadsheet for
details, including wattages.
RVCC continues to improve HVAC controls. Old pneumatic HVAC controls have been replaced
with more efficient digital controls and switched to an online monitoring system in most buildings
and much of the focus during the reporting period was on maintenance. One sensor was replaced
in the West building and 2 were replaced in the Library.
Note that there were 5% more Total Degree Days (Hot + Cold Degree Days) in the reporting period
compared to the previous year. (See http://www.weatherdatadepot.com/.) The new 24,000 square
foot Student Center opened in early February.
Purchased electricity decreased by 5% during the reporting period compared to previous
year (8,967 MWh vs 9,390 MWh). Total electricity usage (purchased plus generated) increased
1% (10,054 vs 9,933 MWh). Gas usage increased 40% during the reporting period compared to
the previous year (411 vs 294 ktherms). Note that much of this difference was due to the increase
in cogeneration. Removing the therms used for cogeneration, gas usage increased 15% (289
vs 252 ktherms). Converting both electricity and gas purchases (including for cogeneration) to
BTUs shows a 16% increase.
Energy Curtailment
RVCC continues to participate in the Energy Curtailment program offered by the PJM
Interconnection, the regional transmission organization for electricity. When called upon by the
power company, RVCC shuts down certain equipment (air conditioning) for short periods of time
so as to help reduce load on the northeast grid. There were no curtailment events during the
reporting period.
GreenPower Partnership
The College continues to be an EPA Green Power Partner. As of December 1, the College
increased its green power purchase to 100% (in addition to the standard power mix). The
College is purchasing Green-e certified wind RECs through Renewable Choice. The purchase
contracts are for 9308 MWh per year from December 2014 through November 2016. Note that
RVCC does not own the SRECs from the solar array on campus.
WasteWise Partnership and Solid Waste Recycling
RVCC installed 5 new water bottle filling stations (2 in the Physical Education building and 3 in
the Student Center), for a total of 12 on campus. The stations enable people to fill reusable water
bottles with filtered chilled tap water, reducing the cost and waste of disposable water bottles.
RVCC continues to be a WasteWise partner and participates in the New Jersey WasteWise
Business Network. RVCC is participating in WasteWise’s Food Recovery Challenge program. In
2015, RVCC will be participating in RecycleMania for the first time.
The Enactus Club and SGA ran food drives. They collected a total of 2,023 lbs of food. The
Enactus Club donated their food (17,023 lbs) to My Neighbor’s Pantry and the Samaritan
Homeless Interim Shelter.
The College’s dining services vendor, Culinart, has agreed to donate unserved trays of leftover
food to the Somerset Food Bank on an ongoing basis. No food was donated to the food bank
during the reporting period.
The College encourages and enforces recycling programs. Materials recycled include glass,
plastic, aluminum and bi-metal containers (24 tons), paper and cardboard (70 tons), bulbs
(813 lbs), batteries (741 lbs), and ballasts (385 lbs). In addition, electronics (approximately
9,977 lbs) and waste toner (estimated 515 lbs) recycling programs are in place. 6.37 tons of
scrap metal were recycled during this period. (Tonnage is calculated from cubic yards using
combined mixed paper cardboard, we assume an average of 292 lbs per yard. Recycling numbers
prior to July 2011 do not use these conversion factors and so are not directly comparable.)
3.62 tons of demolition and construction waste were recycled during the reporting period.
The College continues to send bio-degradable kitchen and cafeteria waste to an off-site composting
facility. Six trash sorting bins have been placed in the cafeteria and by the café. The College
diverted 4.26 tons of compostables during the reporting period.
The College recycled 2870 lbs of kitchen oil during the reporting period. The College recycled
600 gallons of grease during the reporting period.
The College purchased 9600 reams of 30% post-consumer content recycled paper during the
reporting period.
The College recycled 113 pallets during the reporting period.
During the reporting period, the College recycled approximately 9,977 lbs of electronics
Computers for Kids USA. Computers for Kids USA recycles or furnishes rebuilt computers to
schools and children who can't afford them. During the reporting period, all electronics were
For EPEAT purchases, the College purchased 389 Gold desktops (87 of which had been
refurbished), 65 Gold monitors, 24 Silver monitors, 45 Bronze printers, 2 Gold laptops, 21
Silver laptops, and 8 Gold tablets.
During the reporting period, the College donated approximately 150 lbs of inkjet cartridges and
an unknown number of cell phones to NORWESCAP, a non-profit organization whose mission
is to improve the lives of low income individuals and families in need in Northwest New Jersey.
Unfortunately this program has recently ended.
WaterSense Products and Water Conservation
RVCC commits to following the WaterSense Guidelines in order to encourage students, faculty,
staff and administrators to conserve water, and to provide EPA with annual water consumption
data. RVCC continues to utilize WaterSense Products, where appropriate. 18 1.28 gpf
WaterSense toilets, 6 waterless urinals, and 21 low-flow, hands-free faucets have been
installed in the new Student Center, which opened in February.
The College continues to identify and fix minor leaks. Water usage decreased 3% during the
reporting period (8,463,620 kgallons vs 8,745,616 kgallons), compared to the previous year.
The College fixed a leak behind Hunterdon Hall in December.
The new Student Center has a rainwater harvesting system. The system provides water for
the toilets in all six bathrooms (18 toilets), in addition to the living wall irrigation system. All
stormwater is collected from the roof and upper patio and fed into a 4,000 gallon tank in the
basement. Water from the main tank is fed through two water filters and two UV lights, and then
into a small water tank that is pressurized with a pump. The water is then fed up to the bathrooms
and irrigation control box. The main tank has an overflow pipe that feeds into the stormwater
system when the tank is full. When the main tank is empty or the system is being serviced, water
is supplied from city water. The rainwater harvesting system cost approximately $106,000. The
rainwater harvesting system was originally designed to have two 4,000 gallon tanks. However,
Facilities Director Brian O’Rourke argued that, given the efficient water fixtures in the building
and the reduced traffic over the summer, we would only need one tank. To date the one tank has
proven to be more than sufficient. We estimate that we used 97,500 gallons of rainwater for the
Student Center during the reporting period.
RVCC partnered with Rutgers University and the New Jersey Water Supply Authority to install
two new 550 gallon rain barrels, located at the College’s conference center. The barrels sit on a
new concrete footing and are connected to the drainage pipe. The collected water is used to water
plantings along the front of the College and will water the planned enabling garden (see below).
We estimate that we used 30,000 gallons of rainwater from these barrels during the reporting
RVCC continues to use the rainwater harvesting system installed at the garage facility. Rainwater
from the roof of the garage is diverted into a 500 gallon storage tank that is used to fill watering
carts for landscaping needs. We estimate that we used 15,000 gallons of rainwater from these
barrels during the reporting period.
The college continues to use a timed, moisture-sensing sprinkler system uses unmetered well water
for watering the athletic fields, which are the only watered grassy areas on campus.
Sustainable Design, Construction, and Operations Practices
The new Ray Bateman Center for Student Life and Leadership opened in early February. It was
designed to LEED Gold specifications. (We are working on the LEED certification application.)
The building includes a rainwater harvesting system, a green wall, and the Environmental Club
will be working on a green roof. For more details, see the Bateman Center document provided
Many recycled materials were used in the Bateman Center. The building contains recycled steel
(structural 81% post/17% pre, deck and framing 24% post/9% pre), recycled plastic bathroom
stalls (40% pre), recycled aluminum (25% post/50% pre) and recycled concrete masonry (40%
pre). Recycled content gypsum board (94% post/5% pre), ceiling tiles (38% pre), and insulation
(40% pre) were also used. See the data spreadsheet and LEED form for additional details.
An addition to the Science Center is currently under construction. It is being built to LEED Silver
The 600 square foot green roof over the Faculty Lounge in Hunterdon Hall continues to thrive.
The green roof trays contain a wide variety of locally native plants that store and filter stormwater.
RVCC is partnering with Rutgers Cooperative Extension and Rotary International to create an
enabling garden for the community. The project is still in the planning stages and is expected to
be located in front of the conference center. The current design has sections with plants to stimulate
the senses (touch, smell, sight) plus a surrounding meadow. We are hoping to work with local
Eagle Scout candidates to create the garden.
The College is transitioning to green cleaners and recycled paper products. The College
included the following language in its custodial supplies contract, effective January 1, 2014:
Consistent with our Initiative to be a Green Campus, all janitorial products should be Green
Seal certified or UL Environment (Ecologo) certified to the extent possible. […] Paper
products such as toilet paper and paper towels should be made of recycled paper to the
extent possible.
However, mid-year the College brought custodial operations and supplies purchasing
inhouse. The College is now using Green Seal certified glass cleaner and floor cleaner. In
February 2015, the College began purchasing 100% recycled paper towels (40% postconsumer) and toilet paper (25% post-consumer).
The College is working to incorporate its GreenScapes policy into its bidding process. One
expected outcome is increased recycling of construction debris. The College’s Greenscapes policy
is being distributed as part of the requirements for new construction projects such as the Science
building extension and the Workforce Development building.
During the early summer, more native perennials were planted in the rain garden.
In May, students, faculty, and staff planted native plants in six landscaped gardens around
Following the GreenScapes policy, the College has been recycling wood pallets.
National Clean Diesel Campaign & Clean Construction USA
Construction was completed on the Student Center, which is on track to be certified as LEED
Gold. The Student Center floor and ceiling tiles and bathroom stalls are made from recycled
materials, both pre- and post-consumer.
Construction is underway for the 23,500 square foot Science Building addition, which is designed
to be LEED Silver. It will be water and energy efficient and feature recycled and regionally
sourced building materials.
All construction vehicles use ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) and the newer onroad vehicles have
diesel particulate filters (DPFs). (Older equipment was built before DPFs were required.)
40.17 tons of construction and demolition waste was collected for recycling during the reporting
period. Typically 90% of the material is recycled, which would be 36.2 tons.
Waste oil is collected for reuse by a third party. 60 gallons of waste oil were collected during the
reporting period. As previously reported, RVCC does not currently own a vehicle appropriate for
biodiesel use and would need to find funding to purchase or convert a vehicle (plus dedicated
students, materials, and lab space).
Enhanced Idling Reduction
According to state law (NJAC 7:24-14 for diesel vehicles and 7:27-15 for gasoline vehicles), idling
for more than 3 minutes is prohibited in New Jersey, with limited exceptions. RVCC has a “no
idling” sign posted at the main loading dock, and security has been instructed to enforce this. In
addition, the College has a new student-focused transportation web page that states the anti-idling
Transportation and Commuter Programs
Alternative Transportation
In 2014, the College earned its first Platinum NJ Smart Workplaces award from RideWise,
Somerset County’s transportation management association. The award recognizes the
College’s commitment to alternative transportation, including the fact that 9% of the
College’s course enrollment is for online classes, which reduces the number of commuter
trips to the school. For more information about the Smart Workplaces program, visit
The College estimates that the use of alternative transportation resulted in avoiding
2,765,859 commuter miles. According to the December 2013 transportation survey,
approximately 24% of commuters carpool or get a ride at least once per week. Approximately 3%
take the bus at least once per week. See the Transportation tab in the data spreadsheet to see the
RVCC continues to use RideWise’s carpool program. RVCC students are matched with other
RVCC students, and similarly for staff. (It is College policy that students and staff not carpool
together.) Registered carpoolers can park in three carpool-only parking spaces and are eligible for
an emergency ride home program.
RVCC continues to participate in New Jersey Transit’s Student Pass program, which offers a 25%
monthly discount to bus and rail riders.
Somerset County continues to run the CAT 1R and CAT 2R bus lines to campus. These buses
stop at area train stations and malls. The connection from the train could be improved. The College
is planning to address this with the County. There is significant interest (indicated in the survey)
in extending the service to run evenings and weekends. RideWise may try to get funding for this.
Hunterdon County runs a LINK bus line that stops at the College once in the morning and once in
the afternoon. Hunterdon County is considering scheduling permanent stops at the College, to
help provide inter-county transportation.
Please see the Campus and Community Involvement section for the Enactus Club’s bike repair
Clean Vehicle Fleets
No change during the reporting period. RVCC has committed to keeping at least 15% of its fleet
as hybrid vehicles. One of the seven vehicles in the fleet is a hybrid. (As mentioned in the
previous update, we had considered selling it when we got a new President, but in the end we did
Benefits for “Clean” Commuters
Raritan Valley Community College continues to have three carpool-only parking spaces in front
of the West building. RVCC carpoolers registered with RideWise receive a placard to put on their
dash, to indicate that they can park in these registered carpool-only spaces.
The College continues to offer electric car charging through ChargePoint America, a program to
provide electric vehicle charging infrastructure to nine selected regions in the United States, made
possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Transportation
Electrification Initiative administered by the Department of Energy. The chargers serve four
preferred parking spaces outside of the West building. There is a 40-cent connection fee, and
presently the College is not charging for the electricity itself. During the reporting period, there
were 393 charging sessions that charged a total of 3.311 MWh.
Campus and Community Involvement
Green activities on campus are highlighted on RVCC’s sustainability web site. The RVCC campus
has an active student body with over 20 student organizations. Students participate in the
Environmental Club, Enactus, and Rotoract, and contribute to sustainability efforts through estuary
clean-up projects, Habitat for Humanity and the Outdoor Clubs. There is also a college-wide
Environmental Sustainability Committee (composed of faculty, staff and students). This
Committee held extensive programs of events during Earth Week (April) and Campus
Sustainability Day (October). Earth Week events included a science seminar by hydrogen
power expert Michael Strizki, an electric car show, climate change talks, an energy efficient
lighting sale, and an environmental fair. Campus Sustainability Day events included an
environmental fair, lighting sale, and talks about green projects on campus, climate change,
and energy efficiency at home. The committee also re-established the Arboretum
Committee, which is charged with buying and planting trees on campus.
The Environmental Club, ecology and environmental studies students, and others have been
involved in many campus and service learning projects. As mentioned above, the Enactus Club
ran a food drive. Environmental Club students tapped invasive Norway maple (Acer
platanoides) trees from early February through March at the Forest Hill Preserve in Three
Bridges, NJ. They produced 70 bottles of maple syrup. About 70 students participated in the
Sandy Hook beach cleanup with Clean Ocean Action, and 15 students participate in the
protection of 3 miles of sensitive rare beach species habitat at Island Beach State Park – an
entirely RVCC-sponsored initiative, in partnership with the NJDEP Office of Natural Lands
In September, multiple contingents of students, faculty, and staff marched in the Climate
March in New York City.
RVCC and New Jersey Audubon have combined forces to conduct education, research, and
outreach on forest health in central New Jersey, with the support of a 3-year grant from the
National Science Foundation’s SENCER Program (Science Education for New Civic
Engagement and Responsibilities). Preliminary results from 2013-2014 include the successful
training of citizen scientists by RVCC students and NJ Audubon, research on the bird and
plant communities of our local forests, and integration of these activities into RVCC classes,
Audubon programs, and stewardship of public forest preserves. Students in the
Environmental Field Studies class trained citizen scientists to identify and conduct surveys
for invasive plant species. Four student interns were hired to conduct intensive vegetation
studies as part of a regional assessment of forest health.
Enactus started Big Dan's Bike Shop, which is included in their 2013-14 annual report. It
addresses a social need, to improve the standard of living of the "at risk" youth that attend
Middle Earth, a youth center for "at risk" youth. It addresses an environmental need, to
promote a clean and alternate form of transportation. They sell bikes to the general public
through various outlets such as pop-up shops at local events. In 2013-14, they grew the
business' income by over 200% with the partnerships and donations collected by Enactus.
In October, Enactus was awarded a $85,000 Impact 100 grant to support this program.
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