May 15, 2014

STEVE O'KEEFE
Logan Media Services

Sustainability coordinator Tim Gibson reported on the impact of the College’s sustainability efforts at the April meeting of the John A. Logan College Board of Trustees appropriately enough on Earth Day.  Gibson said one of the goals of the College’s strategic plan was to become a state leader in sustainability in the state of Illinois.  He said that the College has achieved that goal in relatively short period of time, particularly in the areas of campus facilities and energy efficiency.

At the meeting, Gibson advised the board that the College was third in the state for lowest cost of energy per square foot. 

“This is remarkable because our energy costs are going down despite the fact that we are adding square footage,” Gibson said.

Shortly after the board meeting, Gibson was excited to find that the College had catapulted into first place for Illinois schools and just outside the top 10 nationally.

“While JALC did not place in the top ten in the nation for energy reduction, we did win the IL competition as the top college in the state, and nationally, we are in some pretty strong company.  Schools in the top 10 reduced on average from 11% to 24 %.  Our reduction of 9.5 % had us just outside the top ten,” said Gibson.

Gibson added that the College community has embraced the efforts to reduce energy costs.

“We have nine water-filling stations on campus that staff and students have used to save over a quarter of a million plastic bottles.  Our recycling efforts, along with the efforts of staff to turn off lights and computers when they leave their offices, has helped tremendously as well,” Gibson added.

According to Gibson, the cost savings can be almost instantaneous.

“We have a rule that there needs to be a three year or less simple payback on any purchase that can be used in energy reduction. So projects like changing parking lot lighting to LED and other heating and cooling changes that were made a few years ago are already making us money every month in savings. The return on investment has been tremendous.”