Keeping It Green at Oakton

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


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New Solar Array on Skokie’s Campus and Opportunity to Learn about Solar Energy!

When President Joianne Smith signed the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge in December 2015, Oakton Community College joined over 200 higher education institutions committed to climate action.  One of Oakton’s commitments as part of that pledge was recently realized with the addition of a 25kW photovoltaic array at its Skokie campus.  Installation of the roof-mounted system, consisting of approximately 80 solar panels, was completed on June 20.

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Since the system has been operational, it has generated 5.27MWh of energy, enough to power more than 15,000 light bulbs for one day. This helps to prevent roughly 3,700 kilograms of carbon dioxide being released into the environment, equivalent to planting 201 trees. Incorporating renewable energy is one important way of reducing the college’s impact on the environment, but it is also something that is of high value to our students, who regularly tell us this is an area they hope the college continues to pursue.

For students interested in learning more about the technology involved in arrays like this one, Oakton is offering a Fundamentals of Solar Energy Systems course (ELT 154) on Wednesday evenings this Fall. Registration for this course is open until September 6, 2017. In addition to the new solar array, the Skokie campus is home to a test system that is easily accessible for enrolled students and provides them with hands-on experience working with solar panels. This course can be used to meet requirements for the Environmental Studies Concentration.

Live data from the solar array will soon be incorporated into the college’s existing Energy Dashboard which can be found on Oakton’s website. For now though, the data can be found here: https://monitoringpublic.solaredge.com/solaredge-web/p/site/public?name=Oakton Community College Skokie Campus#/dashboard

We hope you’ll check it out!

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FREE for Veterans–Basic PV Training Course

FREE PV 101 COURSE FOR VETS

ONLINE – November 14 – December 18

To honor the service of U.S. Veterans, we are offering free tuition for Veterans for Basic PV 101 Online, running November 14 – December 18.

This four-week online course teaches the basics of solar PV, including how PV systems work, selecting solar system size and basic analysis of solar costs.

ENTER DISCOUNT CODE “VETS101” or call Jenny Heinzen at 715-592-6595 ext. 108 to receive free tuition for Veterans. 

Register Now


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Solar Energy Professionals–Certificate Program

Interested in enhancing your education from Oakton with professional training in Solar Energy Installation? Prepare yourself for this growing field! Now that solar prices are dropping consistently and becoming more affordable for businesses and residents, we are going to need skilled professionals who can maintain and service the installations. Get a head start on your future career by signing up! 

“The SEI Solar Professionals Certificate Program (SPCP) goes beyond a “certification test prep” format of training and takes participants to a higher level of educational experience to truly prepare them for the solar industry and a career.

The SEI SPCP is a selective admissions program to help ensure the success of our students and provide a highly trained workforce for the solar industry. To determine a candidate’s likelihood of program completion, alignment of career goals, and overall good fit for this professional training program, we require a certificate program application to be completed by every student candidate. This is required for any certificate path and acceptance into the overall program. Multiple Certificates can be earned by adding courses to your original Certificate Path.”


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Margaret Burke Lee Science and Health Careers Center IS OPEN!

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We are thrilled to announce that the new Margaret Burke Lee Science and Health Careers Center is open for students! Despite the weather, the new building creates a warm and welcoming space for students and faculty.

This video walk through showcases the lovely spaces, but the addition of furniture, artwork and (of course) PEOPLE makes it so much more vibrant. The Lee Center is now home to classrooms for our Science and Health courses and includes biology, chemistry and physics labs, faculty offices, student lounge areas and a state of the art simulation hospital. Keep an eye out in spring as we install our educational displays that highlight many of the great sustainability features of this building (for which we are expecting LEED Gold Level certification!). Some of the features include:

  • Radiant heating using a closed looped system,
  • Light meters and occupancy sensors which help to control how much artificial light is being used,
  • Energy wheel system in our lab spaces that reduce the need for standard HVAC equipment,
  • Construction and décor made from repurposed and recycled materials,
  • Locally sourced building materials,
  • High-efficiency elevator
  • Outdoor classroom,
  • Native landscaping featuring prairie plants which will provide usable habitat for local wildlife,
  • Bioswales in our specially designed and newly resurfaced parking lot to help manage stormwater runoff and…
  • A 23.6 kW photovoltaic array to produce solar power for the building. The array has been producing power in the building for several months. Its real-time energy production and the building’s energy usage can be viewed at any time via our Dashboard.

We cannot wait for you to visit, enjoy the natural light and beautiful views of the Des Plaines campus…and take a class or two!