The SMC community is excited by the opening of the new Organic Learning Garden facility!
The OLG provides the opportunity to learn, to grow our own food, and better understand food systems and the impact they have on our society. We can make our communities self-sustaining, have access to fresh and healthy food, reconnect to the earth and our traditions, and nourish our bodies. During our first year, there were about 1,200 square feet of planting space. Several planting options—raised beds, containers, mounded beds, and constructed herb gardens—that will be available. Plots will be assigned by the OLG Garden Plot Committee (faculty, staff, and students). By planting a garden space during our inaugural year, you will have the opportunity to provide us with valuable feedback and help us develop future policies to insure the maintenance of a thriving garden on a season-to-season and year-to-year basis. We look forward to building a sustainable gardening community at Santa Monica College and hope you will join us in this effort. Current plots are distributed by the Organic Learning Garden Oversight Committee.
Since 2001 SMC has used a closed-loop composting system which houses approximately 400,000 worms, whose job is to convert about 500 lbs of food scraps coming out of the cafeteria each week into valuable fertilizer. This nutrient rich soil is used to fertilize the landscaping all around campus. By using this system, SMC prevents 10,000 lbs of food waste from going into landfills each year, which contributes in reducing methane emissions from decomposing food waste and carbon emissions from the transportation of all that food waste to distant landfills.
SMC has reduced its total waste output by 60% since 2006. There are approximately 100 recycle bins on the exterior of campus alone. In 2009-10 the Board of Trustees passed a Zero waste Events Board Policy requiring events to use compostable ware and produce no more than 10% waste. The Recycling program is managed by SMC's Sustainability Department and staffed only by student workers.
Various cisterns on campus are capturing 200,000 gallons of water so they may be returned to the aquifer by filtering the water through tubes and layers of carbon, soil, and rocks. This mimics the natural process that is disrupted in the urban environment.
SMC’s policy is to retain as much stormwater on campus as possible. When it rains, the water is channeled to the quad where it drains down under the grass through layers of gravel and permeable cloth into the cistern. The gravel and permeable cloth provide the first layers of filtration into the holding tank (cistern). The water then slowly drains out of the cistern through the many layers of rock and sediment, thereby purifying the water to recharge the aquifers and retain rainwater.
A smaller 2,200 gln cistern, under the Organic Learning Garden, captures rainwater which is pumped up and used for irrigation. It's healthier for the fruits and vegetables since it does not contain chemicals like fluoride, chlorine or chloramine.
Drought tolerant landscaping is found throughout many areas of campus. They support local wildlife, requires little maintenance and very little water. Some plants are endangered and some have benefits to the local ecosystem like feeding local bees and being fire resistant.
A native landspace demonstration garden called "Garden / Garden" is located on Pearl street in front of the Campus Police Department and Outreach Center. It demonstrates the water and maintenance cost savings between a typical garden and one that is planted with natives.
The Sustainability Center is planted with native species and each plant is marked for reference. Mulch has been spread throughout the yard to capture valuable runoff from rain events to help return it to the aquifer. Rain barrels capture water from the roof which can be used during dry days to water the landscape.
SMC Bond Measure Building Projects are to be designed to meet the US Green Building Council’s Green Building Program. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system is a widely recognized national and international benchmark for design, construction and operation of high performance buildings. The LEED rating system provides a measurable way to incorporate sustainable design into the built environment.
Some of the distinguishing characteristics and features of a LEED building include:
- Storm Water Quantity and Quality Control using underground cisterns
- Water Use Reduction using low water technologies
- Water Efficient Landscaping
- Optimization of Energy Performance through lighting controls
- On-Site Renewable Energy production through photovoltaic array
- Construction Waste Management Control
- Recycled Content of construction materials
- Use of Certified Wood products
- Low Emitting Materials, Adhesives, and sealants, and Paints and coatings
- Indoor Air Quality Control
- Thermal Comfort Control
- Daylighting and Views
The following buildings have been certified using LEED:
Student Services Building is designed under USGBC NC v3 and is seeking a LEED Platinum certification.
CORE Performance Center is designed under USGBC NC v3 and is certified LEED Platinum.
Center for Media and Design is designed under USGBC NC v3 and is certified LEED Gold.
Performing Arts Center is designed under USGBC NC v3 and is certified LEED Gold.
IT / Media Building has been designed under USGBC NC v3 and has a LEED Silver Certification.
HSS Building is certified LEED Silver.
One of our 4 institutional learning outcomes is directly related to sustainability:
"SMC students will take responsibility for their own impact on the earth by living a sustainable and ethical life style." We are the only community college in the nation to have an Ecological Literacy component as part of our graduation requirements. SMC also developed the Solar/Photovoltaic Installation certificate, Energy Efficiency certificate, and Recycling and Resource Management certificate. The Two Environmental AA & AS degrees offered at SMC are Environmental Studies and Environmental Science. Many traditional disciplines have “greened the curriculum” by incorporating environmental themes and examples and/ or offering the Sustainable Works program as extra credit.
Main Campus - Lot 3 has 6 EV spaces on the bottom level drivers with their own cords. (2 for Students and 4 for Employees)
Main Campus - Student Services Center. There are 6 level II charging stations on the first floor for students and 6 on each of the two floors below for employees. There are also 21 spaces designated for EVs and ZEVs for staging before and after charging.
Bundy campus has 5 level I charging stations in the eastern parking lot.
CMD campus has 8 level II charging stations. (2 for Students and 6 for Employees)
EV charging stations will be integrated into each new future parking garage that is constructed.
High efficiency boilers installed in:
- Drescher Hall – 95% efficiency condensing boilers
- Science Building – 95% efficient boilers and 95% efficient domestic water boilers 10,638
Lighting fixtures upgraded out of 16,000 total
- Interior fixtures – 9905
- Exterior fixtures – 773
- Occupancy sensors – 700
- Any fixture above 50 watts was targeted Occupancy sensors and time clocks installed to reduce lighting
Energy Management Systems to monitor and regulate building energy, temperature, and water use were installed in 2017.
Two Central Plants have been installed in the CORE performance building and CMD campus. They use chillers to freeze liquid in off-peak hours and then use the chilled water as refrigerant during the day to provide cooling to all buildings on the main campus. These systems provide energy efficiencies and eliminate harmful CFS from entering the atmosphere.
- Hazardous Waste Safety Officer position created.
- Green Seal Certified chemicals used campus-wide.
- Irrigation Specialist position created.
- TCBY/ The Coffee Spot is Green Business certified.
- The Bookstore is Green Business certified.
- Facilities use a fleet of electric carts on campus.