Thursday, October 27, 2011

MWCC Receives Massachusetts Leading by Example Award

Mount Wachusett Community College has been recognized by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Leading by Example Program as the state entity that has made the greatest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The college was presented with a Leading by Example Award from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs during its annual ceremony Oct. 26 at the Statehouse honoring state agencies, public higher education institutions, municipalities, and individuals that demonstrate outstanding clean energy and environmental leadership.

MWCC was recognized for a 48 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from a 2002 to 2004 baseline, the greatest reduction of any state college, university or agency. Thanks to an array of projects, including investments in biomass, a 100- kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) installation, solar hot water systems, and the recent installation of two 1.65 megawatt wind turbines on its campus, MWCC is expecting clean energy to generate 97 percent of the college's annual electricity demand.

“We are extremely proud and honored to receive this Leading by Example award for the groundbreaking work that has been underway at Mount Wachusett Community College for more than a decade, including the recent installation of two wind turbines,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino, who accepted the award on behalf of the college with Executive Vice President Emeritus Edward R. Terceiro, Jr.

“Our hope is that our energy initiatives will serve as a model for other institutions in the Commonwealth and across the nation, as we strive to reduce our reliance on foreign fuel and protect the environment through a combination of ingenuity and commitment to future generations," President Asquino said.

Last week, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) named Massachusetts number one in ACEEE's annual state-by-state energy efficiency scorecard. Massachusetts topped California in the ranking for the first time with ACEEE noting the Patrick-Murray Administration's clean energy agenda, which includes the Green Communities Act of 2008 and innovative energy efficiency programs like Leading by Example.

“Thanks to Governor Patrick's national leadership on energy efficiency and renewable energy policies, we're making tremendous headway in pursuit of our clean energy future, with state and local governments setting the pace," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr.

This year's Leading by Example award winners "have taken steps that will continue to yield long-term environmental and economic dividends for years to come," Secretary Sullivan said.

Leading by Example was established by an April 2007 Executive Order in which Governor Patrick directed agencies of state government to improve energy efficiency, promote clean energy technology, and reduce their environmental impacts. The Executive Order calls on state government to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent, reduce energy consumption at state-owned and leased facilities 20 percent, and procure 15 percent of energy from renewable sources by June 2012. In addition, it established the Mass LEED-Plus building standard for new state construction, which requires energy performance to be 20 percent better than code.
Leading by Example efforts have resulted in significant accomplishments in recent years, including an increase in the amount of installed solar PV at state facilities from 100 kW in 2007 to more than 4 MW in 2011 and an increase in the amount of installed wind at state facilities from 660 kW in 2007 to over 8 MW in 2011. This year's awards recognize an array of clean and energy efficient initiatives including heating system replacement, energy efficient building renovations, aggressive recycling, innovative LED street lighting installations, and renewable energy system installations.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Massachusetts Most Energy-Efficient State in the U.S.

Mount Wachusett Community College is proud to be located in the most energy-efficient state in the country!

The fifth annual edition of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released Oct. 20 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), recognized the Commonwealth as the country's new leader. The state surpassed California, which had held the nation's top spot for the past four years. According to the ACEEE scorecard, Massachusetts' took a major leap forward when it passed the Green Communities Act in 2008. The act established energy efficiency as the state's "first priority" resource and created an Energy Efficiency Advisory Council to work with utility companies to develop statewide efficiency plans that are now deemed the most progressive in the nation.

The other Top 10 states on the 2011 Energy Scorecard are New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Connecticut, and Maryland. The six most-improved states are Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska, Alabama, Maryland, and Tennessee.

"Through our Green Communities Act, we set aggressive goals and laid the foundation for greater investment in energy efficiency – and now we are proud to be a model for the nation and world," Governor Deval Patrick stated last week. The governor is also predicting double-digit growth in green energy jobs by mid-2012. According to a bewkt released report from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Commonwealth had 4,909 clean energy firms and 64,310 people working in clean energy jobs as of July. Growth in the clean energy workforce was 6.7 percent between July 2010 and July 2011.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Green Society Helping Others Live Green, One Water Bottle at a Time

Green Society members Rosemary Mruk,
Jesse Roberts and Owen Despre
MWCC's Green Society is making another splash toward sustainability with a new addition to the Gardner campus. The new water cooler and bottle filling station, located in the Commons area near the financial aid office, is part of an outreach campaign to provide students, faculty, and staff with an alternative to plastic water bottles.

The water bottle station, which was funded jointly by The Green Society, the Student Government Association and a $1,000 grant from the United Way Youth Venture, is environmentally friendly because it allows people to refill reusable water bottles. In just a few weeks, it has already saved nearly 400 plastic water bottles from being used. "It's turning out to be a great compliment to other sustainability efforts at MWCC," said Rosemary Mruk, treasurer of the Green Society.

Students from The Green Society researched and presented an action plan and budget to the United Way Youth Venture and members of the college community last spring to receive funding for this project. The UWYV provides opportunities for young people throughout the region to create their own positive social change. The process is non-competitive and open to students ages 12 to 22, said Kumar Raj, United Way Youth Venture Coordinator.

Beginning this month The Green Society will sell reusable, stainless steel water bottles to help raise money for replacement filters for the water station. In the future, The Green Society would like to see a water bottle station on each floor of the Gardner Campus, as well as at the satellite campuses in Leominster and Devens.

"We are excited to see how the campus receives the new water cooler and bottle filling station, and we hope that this station can pave the way for more on campus," said Professor Tom Montagno, the club's advisor.

"At MWCC, we don't just want people to 'Go Green,' " said Owen Despre, president of The Green Society. "We want them to 'Live Green.' "

- Angela Marini