Keeping It Green at Oakton

Your source for the most current sustainability news from Oakton Community College


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Electric Vehicle Charging at Oakton!

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We are thrilled to announce Oakton’s first electric vehicle charging station has been installed on the Des Plaines campus.  Located in Lot D near our LEED Gold certified Margaret Burke Lee Science and Health Careers Center, this dual Chargepoint system will allow students, employees, and community members a convenient way to refuel their electric vehicles when they visit campus.  Electric vehicle purchases are growing globally and in the U.S. and Oakton is excited to support the push towards greener transportation. Within the first hour of use, we already had drivers waiting to utilize the system!

 

 

(Above: Chargepoint dual charging station, two electric vehicles charging; Below: Professor David Arieti shows off his Chargepoint card while fueling up his electric vehicle.)

There are many benefits to driving electric vehicles. Here are a few from the U.S. Department of Energy:

  1. Energy Security–With 24% of petroleum coming from outside of the country, use of electric vehicles can reduce our dependence on imported petroleum and increase energy security.
  2. Fuel Economy–The efficient nature of electric vehicle motors mean drivers can get more miles per kWh than the equivalent mpg with gas.
  3. Infrastructure Availability–Because electric vehicles can be charged in a number of places like home or work, there is flexibility to fill up when and where it is convenient. There are currently over 35,000 Chargepoint stations alone!
  4. Costs–Although initial costs for buying electric vehicles are still relatively high, tax incentives at the federal level and in various states can help close the gap. The saving on gas and repairs though are huge!
  5. Emissions–Because they are not using gasoline and burning fossil fuels, the vehicles themselves emit no (in the case of electric vehicles) or very low (in the case of plug-in hybrid vehicles) harmful emissions. The best way to reduce association emissions though is when the electricity is coming from a renewable source like solar or wind.

And of course, driving electric means an overall reduction in greenhouse gases for transportation, even after considering the entire life cycle of the vehicle. (Read a great discussion of that assessment from the Union of Concerned Scientists here.) The charging station is one of the many ways Oakton is thinking about our environmental impact and taking action on climate. We hope you will visit soon!

For more details about the station itself and other green parking on options at Oakton, visit: http://www.oakton.edu/about/strategic/sustainability/green_parking.php

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Be the Change! With JoeyFineRhyme

On Wednesday, October 19, students and staff were inspired to BE THE CHANGE with stirring images, interactive musical interludes, and energy from bikes–thanks to JoeyFineRhyme.

The presentation was powered by our feet, by pedaling an energy bike connected to the sounds system. Joey shared with us some of the basics behind climate change, its causes, and its effects. He also covered our waste generation as a country and as a world, the way we manage it, and solutions for how we can help to stop these harmful trends in our behavior.

By connecting some of Oakton’s practices (like solar panels on the Lee Center, our new Environmental Studies Concentration, and our Bottled Water Ban) to these issues, he inspired each of us to BE THE CHANGE here on campus and in our personal lives.  Check out part of his performance here!

For more information on how you can get Joey to come to your organization, visit http://www.joeyfinerhyme.com.

 


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American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge

Oakton Community College has signed on to the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge with President Smith’s support. This initiative began in preparation for the Climate Talks in Paris and is using energy generated from those discussions to invite and engage more Colleges and Universities to act. It is based on the American Business Act on Climate pledge. We are now one of over 200 campuses to sign on to this pledge. Below, is a link below with details on the initiative. This will be the start of a more focused and coordinated effort towards climate action on the part of Oakton. We are excited to see where it leads us!

(https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/11/19/fact-sheet-ahead-conference-climate-change-more-200-colleges-and)

 

Oakton Community College Pledge:

We (students, employees, community members) believe that leadership in climate action through practice, education, and social experiences is integral to becoming mindful global citizens. Oakton Community College pledges to:

  • Identify programs and products that improve efficiencies and work towards carbon neutrality.
  • Complete a greenhouse gas assessment that examines current energy resources and consumption.
  • Devote resources to renewable energy opportunities such as our existing solar water heating system and 23.6 kW photovoltaic (PV) array and to the planned 25 kW PV array.
  • Maintain and restore the natural areas of our campuses to protect ecosystem functions, sequester carbon, and support habitats for wildlife.
  • Promote and expand composting opportunities to remove contributed food waste from landfills.


We understand that we are part of a diverse ecosystem and that the sustainable use of resources is important not just for our operations, but for the community, and the world.