The Organic Learning Garden (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. The garden has about 2,000 square feet of planting space using raised beds, containers, mounded beds, and constructed herb gardens. Plots are assigned to groups of 6 or more students and/or staff or a student can join Club Grow to have access to growing food together with the club. The garden is student-run with several paid Garden Managers. To apply for a plot or job, contact email@example.com.
Since 2001 SMC has used a large composting system which houses about 400,000 worms to convert about 500 lbs of food scraps, coming out of the cafeteria each week, into valuable fertilizer. This nutrient rich soil is used on the landscaping around campus by our Grounds department. By using this system, SMC processes 10,000 lbs of food waste on our own property, which contributes in reducing methane emissions from decomposing food waste and carbon emissions from the transportation of all that food waste to distant landfills or compost facilities.
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, managed by our Recycling Specialist and student workers, has a collection plan for compostables, recyclables, clean paper, cardboard, pallets, and toner cartridges.
SMC’s policy is to retain as much stormwater on campus as possible. When it rains, 75,000 gallons of water are channeled to the quad where it drains down under the grass through layers of gravel and permeable cloth into this swimming pool-sized 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. Together, SMC's cisterns are capturing over 200,000 gallons of rainwater during each event.
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.
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 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, 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 Student Sustainability Workshops as extra credit.
779 KW of photovoltaic electricity is provided by panels found in various places around campus, including Parking Structures 3 and 4, the Library, the Sustainability Center, the Center for Media and Design, and the Student Services Center (SSC). In the middle of the day the SSC, our largest building on campus, produces 75% of it's own electricity using solar.
The Core Performance building, a gym, uses a "solar thermal" system to produce hot water for all the showers.
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.
Main Campus - Lot 3 has 6 EV spaces on the bottom level drivers with their own cords. (2 for Students and 4 for Employees)
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)
Malibu campus has 4 level II charging stations.
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
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 on main campus and the 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 efficiency by centrally cooling, using off-peak electricity, and by replacing harmful CFS (a powerful greenhouse gas) with chilled water as a refrigerant.
- 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.