The Sustainability Center works in association with the Illinois Green Economy Network.
What Does Sustainability Mean?
There is not one universally accepted definition of sustainability, yet there are several themes that emerge from most definitions. These include living within certain limits and the interconnectedness of the environment, the economy, and society.
One of the most frequently cited definitions of sustainable development was crafted by the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987 (also known as the Brundtland Report):
"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
- Our Common Future
While this graphic has been widely used in discussions regarding sustainability, not everyone agrees with this depiction. One of the main critiques is the depiction of society or the economy existing separate from nature. A nested approach is preferred in which it illustrates the economy exists within human society, which in turn exists within the natural environment.
Regardless of which version you prefer, most can agree we need to transition to a more sustainable way of life. We must become better stewards of our planet to ensure we endure.
"A transition to sustainability involves moving from linear to cyclical processes and technologies. The only processes we can rely on indefinitely are cyclical; all linear processes must eventually come to an end."
- Dr. Karl Henrik-Robert
The Four Cs of What We Do
We make sustainability a guiding principle for all institutional practices, promote initiatives that reduce energy use and environmental impacts, and serve as a demonstration site for teaching and our community.
We provide assistance and training to faculty and staff to integrate sustainability and green economy content into most disciplines and general education programs.
We identify, develop and expand quality green job/career training for students and workers, while being effectively informed by community and employer partnerships.
We serve as regional and sector partners for mobilizing community and employer engagement, fostering community education, and supporting action for environmental sustainability.
Are you cleaning out your office? Do you have extra three-ring binders, dry erase markers, tape dispensers, a desk organizer or other unneeded supplies? Don’t throw them out – donate them to Triton’s ReUseIt Room by filling out the Authorization for Donation of Unused Office Supplies to ReUseIt Room.
Sustainability is a very important part of education at Triton and many instructors incorporate environmental sustainability topics into their courses. Additionally, several of our degree programs are sustainability-focused and qualify students either for work in relevant fields or for transfer to four-year, baccalaureate-degree granting colleges and universities.
Associate in Applied Science Degrees
The goal of the Architecture curriculum is to help students develop the critical thinking, technical and visual and verbal communication skills needed to be successful in this industry. Sustainability and real world professional practices are emphasized throughout the curriculum. Students will gain the skills necessary to transfer to a four-year college or university or obtain an entry-level position in architecture or a related field.
Biotechnology Laboratory Technician
Triton College's Biotechnology Laboratory Technician associate degree will advance students' understanding of science and the nature of the different STEM fields to prepare students to enter the competitive, high performance workplace of biotechnology. Although biotechnology traditionally has been used primarily in food production, it also increasingly is being used in medicine, manufacturing, forensics, alternative fuels, and agricultural efforts to reduce humankind's environmental footprint.
Construction Technology combines a hands-on construction program with technical course study. Students will receive hands-on training in trades like carpentry, plumbing, and electricity, as well as obtain the engineering and construction skills to plan, organize, solve problems and communicate well in the execution of building projects. Coursework includes an emphasis on sustainable methods and materials.
The HIA - Culinary Arts curriculum prepares students for potential positions as food service workers, cooks, and potential chefs in a wide range of food service establishments. Students are trained in hands-on culinary and baking laboratories where they develop their skills in quantity food preparation techniques. Students will also gain other knowledge and skills necessary for work in the food-service industry. Sustainable methods are emphasized throughout, including waste reduction, food-scrap composting, and farm-to-table techniques utilizing produce sustainably-grown on campus in Triton’s garden and greenhouse.
Engineering Technology/Mechanical Design
The Engineering Technology curriculum provides students with a working knowledge of engineering technology from design through production. Sustainable materials and practices are emphasized throughout. While in the program, students are encouraged to seek out entry-level and internship opportunities in engineering departments, plant maintenance, production departments, and technical sales and support.
The Engineering Technology/Mechatronics curriculum provides students with a working knowledge of the mechanical and electrical engineering and computer software technologies that together comprise mechatronics. Sustainable materials and practices are emphasized throughout. While in the program, students are encouraged to seek out entry-level and internship opportunities in engineering departments, plant maintenance, production departments, and technical sales and support.
The Horticulture (HRT) program is designed to provide students with the necessary skills to acquire entry-level positions in all fields of Horticulture and related industries, as well as skills for advancement in their career field, self-employment and transfer into a four-year curriculum. Sustainable practices are integrated throughout the curriculum.
Renewable Energy Technology
The Renewable Energy Technology Associate in Applied Science degree emphasizes basic techniques and skills necessary for entry-level employment in the alternative energy industry. Students acquire proficiency in electricity and magnetism, controls, PhotoVoltaics (PV), wind, energy efficiency, effective communications and employment skills.
Sustainable Agriculture Technology
Sustainable Agriculture Technology curriculum is designed to provide students the skills necessary to manage an environmentally sound and sustainable urban food production system. Graduates are qualified for numerous positions associated with sustainable agriculture including horticulture, nursery operations, agricultural education, and managing food production.
Associate in Science Degrees
The Environmental Science program includes a broad math and science-based curriculum for students planning to pursue a baccalaureate degree at a transfer college or university. The program is designed for exploration of the relationships between organisms and their environment, with an emphasis on the impacts that humans place on their environment.
Environmental science majors may find a wide range of career opportunities available in environmental testing laboratories, state and federal government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, Departments of Natural Resources, the National Park Service, soil and water conservation services, as well as private or non-profit organizations.
Geo-Engineering Innovations through Undergraduate Scholarship
The Geo-ENgineering Innovations through Undergraduate Scholarship (GENIUS) program is for prospective and current Triton College students pursuing any Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) area concentration including: Biological Sciences (except medicine and other clinical fields); Physical Sciences (including Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy and Materials Science); Mathematical Sciences; Computer and Information Sciences; Geosciences; Engineering, and Technology areas associated with the preceding disciplines (for example, Biotechnology, Chemical Technology, Engineering Technology, Information Technology, etc.).
The geological sciences are fundamentally the study of Earth, its crust and global internal structure, ocean basins, continents, mountains, volcanoes, earthquakes, glaciers and other surface features. Geology also is concerned with the history of the planet, the origin and evolution of the continents, seas and life. Employment opportunities for the geologist are found with state and federal agencies and private engineering firms concerned with land use, geologic hazards, hazardous waste disposal, and the management of important resources such as oil, gas, coal, water, and various minerals.
The Architectural Technology Certificate is designed for students who wish to concentrate solely on technically-related courses. Coursework includes instruction in sustainable methods and materials. Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions with architecture, interior design or construction companies.
Renewable Energy Technology
The Renewable Energy Technology Certificate emphasizes basic techniques and skills necessary for entry-level employment in the alternative energy industry, including unions working in this arena, such as IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers). Scholarships available through the Illinois IBEW Renewable Energy Fund (REF).
Virtual Sustainability Resources
Covid-19 has and will continue to have a huge impact on how we live in the foreseeable future. Many human activities have been halted or reduced in scope while we socially distance to slow the pandemic’s spread.
We are all hoping to get back to normal. Yet in large and small ways, life is not likely to be the same as before. It will take time for jobs to come back, for our economy to restart, and for us to easily join others in large social groups. And, inspired by cleaner air, less traffic, and new possibilities for working from home, sustainability professionals and climate activists alike are making plans for a new, more sustainable way of life that would help make urban areas more livable, and possibly help solve environmental problems, including climate change.
The Covid-19 pandemic and climate change are related. Solving climate change by making our society more sustainable and reducing humanity’s negative impact on earth ecosystems will also help prevent an onslaught of future pandemics. As you carry on with your socially-distanced life, you might find yourself with some time to learn more about our environment, to reflect about how to live more sustainably, and to take action to help the earth, our only home.
Triton’s Sustainability Center and Greening the Campus Committee offer a list of virtual resources.
Climate Change and Environment
Yale Environment 360
Climate change is solvable: check out the world’s leading resource for climate solutions.
What is Environmental Justice?
Website with multiple inspiring stories and videos about this important work.
Why We Have Trouble Recycling Plastic
Informative podcast and documentary about plastic’s past and potential future.
“Plastic Wars” documentary about the complex relationship between the plastic industry and recycling.
Go to the Forest Preserves
Cook County Forest Preserves are open and remain a great place to explore and get some fresh air. (Some activities and sites have been closed, due to social distancing measures.) Check the website before you go.
Take a walk and look for birds
The Audubon organization has a list of common birds in our area.
Mixed Stream Recycling at Triton
In an effort to keep waste out of rapidly diminishing landfills, Triton encourages all students, staff, faculty and visitors to recycle. Clearly marked blue recycling bins are distributed throughout the campus, along with trash receptacles marked “Landfill.”
Recycling at Triton is mixed stream: no sorting required. Our waste hauler, Roy Strom Refuse Removal Service Inc., has provided the graphic below that shows what goes in any blue recycling bin on campus.
Institutional Recycling at Triton
Triton will move towards being a “zero waste” campus by reducing its overall waste, using recycled materials, recycling, and composting.
—Triton College Sustainability Planning Guide
As an institution, Triton has a waste reduction program in place and is committed to waste reduction and recycling as a matter of standard procedure. Practically everything that can be recycled is recycled, and as new recycling opportunities arise, we take advantage. Here are some examples of items and materials that are diverted from the landfill.
- Batteries: Batteries are recycled or disposed of properly, as appropriate.
- Building and construction waste: There are separate dumpsters for waste such as old concrete that results from construction, renovation and repair projects. This material is taken to a facility where it is prepared for recycling and reuse in future projects.
- Electronics: Computers, AV equipment and other electronics are used to the end of their life cycles and are then recycled by a certified recycler.
- Food scraps and used cooking oil: TriCafe (Triton’s food service) and Triton’s Culinary Arts (HIA) Department put food scraps in dedicated carts on the loading docks outside the kitchens. The scraps are picked up regularly and taken to a commercial composting facility. Used cooking oil is picked up by a company that makes biodiesel fuel.
- Metal: Metal scrap is picked up to be recycled and reused. This includes any metal furniture coming out of the classrooms and offices, such as cabinets. Chairs and desks are taken apart and the metal frames recycled. Even old copper wiring and steel support beams that are being replaced go to the recycler.
- Mixed Stream Recycling: This is used as standard practice throughout the campus.
- Paper and cardboard: Office documents are shredded prior to recycling.
Sustainability on Campus
Illinois law now makes it illegal to dispose of electronic items in the trash due to the potentially hazardous components in many of these products. Triton College partners with responsible companies to collect, reuse, and recycle these items.
During the summer of 2011, Triton College replaced its outdoor lighting with energy-efficient LED lights. Where the old fixtures used 1840 watts per pole, the new ones only use 422 watts per pole. In addition, the shielded fixtures and LED lights are in compliance with International Dark Sky Association guidelines. The supplier, BetaLED, says that the LED circuit boards, drivers, wires and connectors are all non-hazardous, mercury-free, and RoHS compliant; the aluminum poles and housings are made using 20-25 percent post-consumer recycled materials; and 70 percent (by weight) of these fixtures are readily recyclable.
Green Business Certification
Triton College received a $15,000 grant from the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation to create a pilot Green Business Certification program. Triton partners with the Illinois Green Business Association to guide businesses located in Oak Park and River Forest through the certification process. Green business certification through IGBA includes a customized plan designed to help businesses save money and manage resources while helping make positive changes in their community. The standards are designed to be suitable for even the smallest local businesses.
The gymnasium's old sodium lighting was replaced and wattage went from 400 Watts per fixture down to 128 Watts, while output increased 30%.
Visit the beautiful Triton Botanical Garden. Ornamental and native landscaping techniques are on display, along with hardscape features such as permeable pavers.
Triton College has adopted a segment of land owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County that is adjacent to campus, which has informally been named 'Adena Woods' after the Adena Indians. Join us for one of our forest restoration work days as we pick up trash and eliminate invasive species such as buckthorn and garlic mustard.
Electric Vehicle Charging Station
Open to the community for use, five ChargePoint® Level-2 dual charging stations (240 volts) have been installed and are marked with a green designated parking sign. Locations include near the Robert M. Collins Center; the Advanced Technology Building (M-Building); the Student Center; the Liberal Arts Building (E-Building); and the Industrial Careers Building (T-Building).
Triton students and employees are eligible for a discount when using the charging stations. Sign up for an account HERE, then email Colleen Rockafellow (email@example.com) to receive the discount code.
Triton’s Sustainability Planning Guide was created in 2014 to provide guidance to administration, staff, faculty and students as we develop and implement sustainability initiatives on campus. All are encouraged to read and make use of it when planning projects. The Guide is a living document and will be revised and updated in 2019.
Triton College first won Tree Campus USA® recognition in 2016 for its commitment to effective urban forest management. Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor colleges and universities for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.
Triton achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, creating a campus tree-care plan, dedicating annual expenditures for its campus tree program, holding an Arbor Day observance and participating in a student service-learning project. Currently there are 296 campuses across the United States with this recognition. Participating colleges apply for and earn certification and then apply for re-certification in subsequent years.
The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $46.7 million in campus forest management last year. For information about the Tree Campus USA program visit arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.
Triton's Tree Care Advisory committee meets once a semester to discuss care of Triton's urban forest and tree-related campus initiatives. The committee includes administrators, students, faculty, staff, and urban forestry experts from Morton Arboretum.
Triton has a Tree Care Plan that was written with input from the Tree Advisory Committee and Facilities personnel.
We hold Arbor Day related tree-planting events annually. Native species of trees from the list of preferred species in our Tree Care Plan are chosen. In 2016 we planted a nannyberry viburnum and in 2017, we planted a bur oak. In 2018, we planted an apple serviceberry. This event was dedicated in memory of long-time science department Missy Cabrera, and a plaque was placed in front of the tree in her honor. Click here for additional information.
Triton Students are mapping our campus trees and volunteering for service learning projects
There is a multi-semester project underway to map Triton's trees by location and species. As part of the curriculum, students from several classes are learning to use GPS to locate trees, and then are photographing and identifying them. Students from Environmental Biology, Geology and Technology for Educators participated in 2017.
Triton’s campus is adjacent to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Triton students have long participated in volunteer workdays in a variety of Cook County Forest Preserve locations near campus. In 2017, a partnership was agreed to between the Forest Preserve District and Triton: 41 acres of forest preserve property adjacent to campus have been designated Triton Field and will be used as an area where student volunteers can learn about woods ecosystem management and restoration.
While it is easy to get to Triton by car and parking is free, active transportation is a lower cost, healthier, less polluting alternative. Students, staff, faculty and visitors are encouraged to bike, walk and take Pace buses to and from campus and to bike or walk while on campus. Triton is partnering with Active Transportation Alliance and Pace Bus Service to help improve transit alternatives for students, staff and residents of surrounding communities. Triton is a member of the Bike2Campus Coalition and Triton representatives have served on the steering committee for the Melrose Park Active Transportation Plan.
Give your input about Pace Bus Service by taking this five-minute survey.
Pedestrians and Cyclists on Campus
Triton’s capital improvements include new walkways and marked crosswalks with clear signage that make it easier and safer to walk between buildings, traverse the parking lots or take a fitness walk. Some improvements work as traffic calming measures, as well.
In recent years, Triton has increased the number of bike racks on campus, including the newest installation near the new athletic fields. This makes parking very convenient for cyclists, wherever they have to go on campus.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Access to Campus
Construction of a new bike/pedway along North Avenue in Melrose Park has made it easier to bike and walk safely to Triton from the east, west and south. The four-mile long path stretches from Thatcher Avenue in River Forest to Cornell Avenue in Melrose Park. It then swings north to Armitage and continues to Mannheim Road.
Pace Bus Service and Free Shuttle to North Avenue
Pace Route 331 stops on campus in front of the Student Center. For those traveling on Route 318, there is free shuttle service to and from the intersection of North Avenue and First Avenue when classes are in session.
Pace Bus routes and schedules are available online.
Paper maps are available at the Office of Student Life on the first floor of the Student Center.
Pace Campus Connection Pass for Students: Unlimited Rides for One Set Cost
The Campus Connection pass is great for students who rely on public transportation. Triton is a Ventra card retailer: Students can purchase Pace Campus Connection passes and also 30-day passes for use on both CTA and Pace. Ventra cards and passes are available at the Cashier’s Office, room B-130 in the main hall of the Student Center (B-Building).
These passes are for unlimited rides during the duration of the pass and can be covered by financial aid. The Campus Connection Pass, purchased each semester, offers a substantial discount over the cost of standard 30-day passes or Ventra auto-load. The purchase cost is pro-rated over the semester.
The Summer Campus Connection pass is available starting in late May. The Pace Summer Campus Connection costs $140, regardless of when it is purchased. The Summer Campus Connection is valid June 1 – August 31. For more information go to the Pace Bus website.
Triton College is dedicated to promoting, teaching and modeling sustainability. We are doing our part by establishing a green cleaning program that helps protect human health and the environment.
Did you know that green cleaning can:
- help us all stay healthy
- help us increase the lifespan of the facility
- help us preserve our environment
- build sustainability for the future
U.S. facilities, like Triton College, have a huge impact on the environment, making up:
- 36% of the total energy used
- 70% of the electricity generated
- 30% of waste output
- 12% of potable water consumption
- 36 billion trash can liners
- 5 billion pounds of cleaning chemicals and coatings
- 4.5 billion pounds of toilet paper and hand towels
(Annual Totals Source USGBC)
Here’s how we are accomplishing our sustainable green cleaning program throughout our facilities:
WE USE GREEN CLEANING PRODUCTS
Our products have been carefully selected amongst the safest and most effective on the market. Many of these products carry the Green SealTM or EcoLogoTM Certifications.
WE USE GREEN PAPER PRODUCTS, HAND SOAPS AND CAN LINERS
We use toilet tissue, roll towels, hand soaps and can liners that meet the highest standards of compliance as determined by the Green Seal, Eco LogoTM and/or the EPA.
WE USE GREEN CLEANING EQUIPMENT
Our floor and carpet maintenance equipment incorporates the latest technology in chemical-free cleaning as well as has the distinction of being CRI (Carpet & Rug Institute) Gold Certified and can improve indoor air quality.
WE EMPLOY GREEN CLEANING PROCESSES
We use green cleaning procedures that have a lower environmental impact that focuses on cleaning for health and safety.
Together we can make a difference!
- Triton maintains institutional membership and engagement with regional and statewide sustainability networks such as AASHE, IGEN, CNSHE and Chicago Wilderness
- Triton is working to achieve the Silver level in the Illinois Campus Sustainability Compact
- Institutional support for sustainability initiatives throughout the campus ensures steady progress
- Since 2009 the Greening the Campus Committee has been active in sustainability initiatives such as earth day events, campus and community recycling, and pilot native landscaping projects
- Throughout the college, staff and students are changing the way we do things to help reduce waste, save energy, raise awareness, and create a campus culture of sustainability
- Many instructors include sustainability components in their curricula
- Our new campus-wide learning standards state that sustainability is an essential part of our students’ education
- Over the next five years nearly all students will encounter sustainability in their classes as instructors implement the new learning standards
- New programs in fields such as such as sustainable agriculture, environmental science and alternative energy will help train students for the new green economy
- Triton is an early adopter of energy-and resource-saving technologies such as LED lights and water bottle refilling stations
- New parking lots have improved storm water management features such as rain gardens
- Green cleaning products and methods, including carpet cleaners that use ionized water—help make our campus healthier
5. Community Engagement
- Triton sponsors sustainability-related events open to the public such as films, speakers, and “green drinks” and zero-waste events
- The horticulture department assists community garden projects in nearby communities
- The Sustainability Center partners with local green groups to help our communities become more sustainable
Triton College Program Board holds first-ever completely student-run sustainability event.
On Wednesday, April 10, 2013, Triton students attended a zero-waste sustainability party in the Student Center Cafeteria. Refreshments included snacks and punch served in recyclable containers. Activities included seed planting, making jewelry from recycled materials and playing a recycling game. Party-goers received educational materials, water bottles and reusable shopping bags. Student Program Board members conceived and executed the event in consultation with Sustainability Coordinator Adrian Fisher. Program Board President Jamie Depaolo and Advisor Maggie Duran said they were very pleased with the high turnout and participation. The event was part of a series of spring sustainability events sponsored by campus community members including the Science Department, Library, Sustainability Center, Health Services, Alumni Relations and Greening the Campus Committee.
Triton College Holds Its First Zero Waste Event
As Triton's efforts toward sustainability continue, the administration has been considering how to incorporate the "zero waste concept" into the daily operations on Triton's campus. Zero waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. Any trash sent to landfills and incinerators is minimal. Zero waste events are a great way to showcase our commitment to the environment while creating a model for our students and community.
On November 15th, President Granados was pleased to host Triton's first Zero Waste event, the Green & Greet Game in the Robert Collins Building. Refreshments were served and while the Trojans took on the Moraine Valley Cyclones, Triton students facilitated a resource recovery station which helped students and guests properly sort and recycle their items from the evening's event. Special thanks is due to Ken Dunn, known as the 'Compost King,' for collecting our compostable items. Mr. Dunn is the Executive Director of the Resource Center located in the Chicago Metro area. The event was a success, and Dr. Granados says she looks forward to utilizing this method for future campus events.
Green Business Certification Program for Oak Park and River Forest Businesses
Triton College has received a $15,000 grant from the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation to create a pilot Green Business Certification program. Triton will be partnering with the Illinois Green Business Association to guide businesses located in Oak Park and River Forest through the certification process. The grant is part of funds awarded to projects that will help the two communities implement the PlanItGreen Sustainability Plan.
The Illinois Green Business Association uses vetted, national standards that help ensure truly sustainable business practices. Green business certification through IGBA includes a customized plan designed to help businesses save money and manage resources while helping make positive changes in their community. The standards are designed to be suitable for even the smallest local businesses. During the certification process, sustainability professionals at Triton will be available for consultation. Upon certification, businesses will receive customized marketing materials, including being interviewed for a YouTube video. Many businesses have found that advertising themselves as Green Certified has a positive impact on their customer base as well as the bottom line.
Triton is looking for twenty businesses to take part in the program. The College will be coordinating with the Oak Park Development Corporation to offer information sessions and recruit businesses who wish either to participate in OPDC's green business practices program, or go the whole route to certification. The first public information session will take place in early January.
Water Bottle Filling Stations
Environmental Biology Students Clean Up Adena Woods
Triton College Updates Library Lighting and Dedicates New Green Resources Collection
Triton's library has always been a preferred place to study, work on essays, and hang out to read or surf the internet. Yet there is always room to improve. As part of Triton's move towards sustainability, during April the facility was updated with new, brighter, energy-saving lighting and flooring made of 90% recycled materials. Concurrently, the Triton Sustainability Center donated funds both to purchase a display cart dedicated to green reading materials and to help expand the library's green resources collection.
On April 16, 2012, the whole effort came together when a small dedication was held as part of Triton's Sustainability Month. About twenty-five students and staff gathered to celebrate the library's new, brighter look and new emphasis on making sustainability materials available to the campus and surrounding communities. After the dedication, the library held a film screening of Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time, followed by discussion.
The library's new lighting is part of a project grant funded through IGEN as part of the ICCTES program. It includes fluorescent tubes and prismatic fixtures that increase light output and illumination by 30%, while producing energy savings of 50%. As a result, the whole atmosphere in the library has noticeably changed for the better. Other areas retrofitted on campus are selected classrooms, the gymnasium, and the cafeteria. The gymnasium's old sodium lighting was replaced and wattage went from 400 Watts per fixture down to 128 Watts, while output increased 30%. In the cafeteria, the overall number of fixtures was reduced and wattage was reduced from 400 Watts to 128 Watts per fixture, yet brightness remained the same. The lighting project as a whole will save 440,000 KW hours per year, producing a dollar savings of $44,000 annually.
"Green Fire" Screening
In April 2012 we hosted a free screening of Green Fire, a film that highlights Aldo Leopold's extraordinary career, tracing how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement. A discussion followed the screening.
Triton College Completes Switchgear Installation to Manage Power Use in Buildings
Early in 2012, Triton College completed switchgear installation in all buildings on campus. Prior to this, Triton had one campus-wide meter and has historically spent approximately $100,000 a month on electricity. The new system will enable John Lambrecht, AVP of Facilities, and his staff to accurately monitor how much power is being used in each building. They first will establish a baseline; once they know and can trend the figures, they will initiate more aggressive management to reduce unnecessary electricity use. Another advantage of the new system is real-time notification of power spikes, for easier, faster troubleshooting. Lambrecht says he is looking forward to getting the data, increasing energy efficiency, and reducing Triton's energy bills.
Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCT)
IGEN's Career Pathways Consortium was awarded a grant by the Federal Department of Labor. Triton College will be hosting a regional coordinator to aid colleges in working together. A Sustainable Landscape Practices and Agriculture Technology Program is also being created at Triton with this grant support.
ICCTEMT - IL Community College Targeted Energy Management Training
The ICCTEMT Program Triton College participated in 2011 was funded through the IL DCEO Building Industry Training Education (BITE) program with the goal to identify, implement and assess multiple, comprehensive energy management and job training workshops, technical assistance seminars, behavior change awareness campaigns, and energy-related conferences for Illinois Community College staff, students and general business community members.
Green/Renewable Energy Training
Triton College has partnered with Protrain Online to offer a variety of online courses for Green/Renewable Energy training.
LED Lighting Upgrade
During the summer of 2011, Triton College replaced its outdoor lighting with energy-efficient LED lights. The previous 100 watt metal halide lighting consisted of 173 poles with 306 lamps. These were all replaced with 35 watt LED fixtures. Where the old fixtures used 1840 watts per pole, the new ones use 422 watts per pole. In addition, 25 poles (50 fixtures) were added to target existing dark areas. John Lambrecht, associate vice-president of facilities, expects that, besides improving overall safety and visibility, the change will lead to annual energy savings of 58 percent, helping Triton lower its carbon footprint while saving over thirty thousand dollars each year.
In addition, the shielded fixtures and LED lights are in compliance with International Dark Sky Association guidelines. IDA promotes the reduction of light pollution through appropriate lighting design. Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated the harmful effects of inappropriate nighttime lighting (particularly blue-rich light of the sort emitted by early LEDs), which can disrupt ecosystems and interfere with wildlife and human circadian cycles. It is only in the last several years that manufacturers have improved LED technology to the extent that it is both bright and of a "color temperature" that minimizes excessive blue (short wavelength) light.
Triton's new fixtures feature new-generation LEDs and will target light where it's needed, helping to prevent excessive uplighting. Not only will the lighting be an improvement, but the supplier, BetaLED, says that the LED circuit boards, drivers, wires and connectors are all non-hazardous, mercury-free, and RoHS compliant; the aluminum poles and housings are made using 20-25 percent post-consumer recycled materials; and 70 percent (by weight) of these fixtures are readily recyclable.