Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, OH was recently honored as the first community college in the state to receive the Bellwether Award from the Community College Futures Assembly. The annual award is bestowed upon community colleges to recognize “outstanding programs that are at the forefront of innovation throughout the United States and Canada.”
Lakeland’s program, “Going Green Doesn’t Have to be Sexy,” outlined the northeastern Ohio College’s sustainability journey, which began by benchmarking its energy performance against European best practices, developing a master plan, then seeking, according to Lakeland: “the help of global experts in energy management, Siemens Building Technologies, to implement a comprehensive energy and resource efficiency plan.”
Encompassing a broad variety of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system upgrades, lighting retrofits and building improvements, the campus wide project began its Guarantee Period on July 1, 2009. “Lakeland is committed to reducing our own impact on the environment. We also hope to be a role model for our campus community, as well as for our county, state, and nation. We’re honored to receive this award for innovative, trendsetting programs that other colleges may find worthy of replicating,” said Mike Mayher, vice president for administrative services and treasurer.
About The Bellwether Award
For 16 years the Bellwether award has recognized programs or activities that improve efficiency and effectiveness in community colleges. Through a performance-based energy savings contract executed by the Building Technologies Division of Siemens Industry, Lakeland’s program resulted in the college achieving natural gas, electricity, and water volume reductions of 46%, 36%, and 18%, respectively, and a 40% reduction in direct and indirect creation of greenhouse gases.
The Community College Futures Assembly said: “Lakeland’s practical, incremental approach set the standard statewide for energy conservation. Effective energy management on campus is fueled by information, data on consumption, and other key metrics. This data will be delivered to students, faculty, administrators, and the community via Siemens Web-based Green Touchscreen technology. The interface will report data gathered by the existing building automation system Siemens installed as part of the overall project.”
Along with financial and environmental benefits, Siemens, through its Sustainability Education program, is helping Lakeland to establish a facility energy management course curriculum to help students prepare for a segment of the green job market. What will set the college’s program apart from its peers is the fact that its own facilities and building systems create a living learning environment where students will be able to experience their coursework firsthand.