Thursday, March 29, 2012

Turbines at 1 Year Anniversary Producing 100% of MWCC's Electricity

In the year since Mount Wachusett Community College added wind energy to its renewable portfolio, the two 1.65 MW turbines are producing 100 percent of the college’s electricity while also returning energy back to the grid.

The Vestas V82 turbines, activated on March 25, 2011, generated in excess of 5 million kilowatt hours of electricity two days before the anniversary date, slightly exceeding the 4.97 million kWh annual production anticipated prior to construction and taking into account the first month of intermittent operation during a break-in period. Combined with existing renewable technologies, the turbines have enabled the college to generate nearly all of its energy on site and to achieve the distinction of near carbon neutrality for campus operations.

"The wind energy project is the crowning achievement in our portfolio of green energy projects. Combined, these renewable technologies provide an invaluable learning tool for the general public as well as students pursuing green careers in our Natural Resources and Energy Management programs," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. "The turbines have become a source of pride and a symbol of progress for the college and for the local community."

The wind energy project, a collaboration between the college and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, the Executive Office of Administration & Finance, the Division of Capital Asset Management, and the Department of Energy Resources, is an integral component in the Massachusetts Leading by Example - Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings executive order to achieve statewide goals.

"Community projects like this one not only create jobs and local sources of energy but stabilize energy costs, which traditionally have relied on volatile fossil fuel markets," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. "We're a proud partner in this project because it sets an example of clean energy leadership for the students, residents and businesses of this community.

During an April 2011 ceremony, the college dedicated the turbines in honor of Congressman John Olver, for his support for funding through the U.S. Department of Energy, and Edward R. Terceiro Jr., MWCC executive vice president emeritus and resident engineer, for his leadership on the project and other campus energy initiatives, and to both for their renewable energy vision.

A charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, MWCC was recognized with environmental awards in 2011 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Second Nature/ACUPCC and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for its success in renewable energy and conservation.

Built in the early 1970s as an all-electric facility, the Gardner campus has been transformed over the past decade. In addition to wind energy, the college's energy initiatives include biomass heating, photovoltaic solar, solar hot water, and extensive energy conservation measures. Since 2002, energy consumption at the 450,000 square foot campus has dropped from 9 million kWh to 5 million kWh, saving more than $4.5 million in utility costs while simultaneously benefitting the environment.

Monday, March 19, 2012

"Catch the Wind at MWCC" Communications Success Story Wins Top National Award

"Catch the Wind at MWCC,” a multi-faceted marketing and communications project developed throughout the construction and activation of Mount Wachusett Community College’s wind turbines, has received a top award from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations.
MWCC’s Marketing and Communications Division received the gold Paragon Award in the “Communications Success Story” category on March 13 during the NCMPR national conference in San Francisco. The division shares the honor with faculty, staff and students who  provided their talent, time and skills on various aspects of the campaign.

The construction and dedication of MWCC’s two 1.65 MW Vestas V82 wind turbines from September 2010 to April 2011 provided an extraordinary opportunity to showcase the college’s renewable energy initiatives through an in-house, multi-channel communications approach incorporating traditional media; social media; video and photography documentation; a special event; and staff and student graphic design contributions in the areas of signage, banners, invitations, event program and t-shirts.

From a communications standpoint, the project showcased MWCC’s decade-long commitment to sustainability and the college’s leadership role in the national climate commitment movement, while enhancing awareness about the benefits associated with renewable energy. 

The communications project consisted of ongoing press releases and story proposals to media outlets as the construction ensued and leading up to the April 2011 dedication ceremony; social media, including the launch of the Green on Green Street blog and posts to the college’s Facebook and YouTube pages; a turbine construction video and dedication ceremony video created by Broadcasting & Electronic Media Department Chair Joel Anderson, the Media Services Department and students; photography capturing virtually all aspects of construction for posterity and for use in the blog, media releases and other venues; and several graphic design projects, including those done in conjunction with Computer Graphic Design Department Chair Leslie Cullen and CGD students.

Independent judges selected to review the entries noted “excellent, sustained media coverage” and student creativity and participation as key factors that earned MWCC an A+ in the Communications Success Story category. More than 1,800 entries were submitted by some 200 colleges in over 40 categories.

Sponsored by the NCMPR, the Paragon Awards recognized outstanding achievement in communications at community and technical colleges. It is the only national competition of its kind that honors excellence exclusively among marketing and PR professionals at two-year colleges in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. NCMPR is an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges.