Alamo Colleges Sustainability

Alamo Colleges Sustainability

August 25, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


San Antonio, Texas the nation’s
seventh-largest city population nearly one million four hundred and fifty
thousand home to Alamo Colleges one of the country’s premier community college
districts with an annual enrollment of over 90,000. For years Alamo Colleges have been committed to
minimizing their environmental impact on the community while empowering and
teaching their students and employees what they can do to reduce their own
carbon footprint, so wha have Alamo Colleges the faculty students and
employees been doing? Working with CPS San Antonio’s electric and gas utility.
We are on the road to reduce seven hundred and seventy-one megawatts of
energy use by 2020. One way is through CPS is energy demand response program where
Alamo Colleges is called upon to reduce energy use in the hot summer months, our
HVAC system switches from real-time cooling at our chiller plants to drawing
from the thermal storage tanks which are pre-cooled the night before. Since we
began partnering with CPS, Alamo Colleges have earned approximately $400,000 in
rebate savings and our participation in this program translated into the avoidance of CO2
emissions. In 2013 alone the estimate was over 19,000 pounds, plus the District is
on track to reduce electrical consumption by five percent each year. Ambitious, no doubt, but Mother Nature has
given us the energy of the Sun, two hundred and twenty four days per year in
San Antonio. Alamo Colleges are recognized for their leadership in
innovative approaches to capturing and harnessing the power of this solar
energy with over 200 buildings in our district we are challenged to redesign
the way our buildings offering and use energy wiser incorporating solar energy
whenever possible. For instance, we have installed over 3,400 solar panels with
over 600 kilowatts of capacity enough energy to supply nine hundred and
twenty-six homes for a year but solar power goes way beyond the panels we all
identify with, Alamo Colleges has installed unique solar panel electric
car recharge stations additionally solar panels are mounted atop our San Antonio
College Eco Centro center that produce more energy than the building itself
uses. So when you are charging your electric vehicle you’re using those
solar panels excess production. The Eco Centro center is a facility built to
educate our surrounding community and students with free workshops on such
topics as conserving energy in the home indoor planting in the city cooling a home with landscaping and
water management. Other unique ways we are harnessing the power of the sun; our
students solar hydroponic project, an example of vertical farming the solar
panels supply the energy to circulate the water nutrients ventilation and
lighting making it possible to grow microgreens. We are constructing carports
with solar panels giving shape to vehicles while generating energy, we are
also building bus ports that shade students while generating electricity
and to continue to showcase renewable energy technology and increase student
interest. A group of students and faculty
converted an old gas powered utility cart into a solar-powered electric
vehicle, another ambitious goal of Alamo Colleges with significant environmental
impact: a 25% reduction of domestic water use by 2020. One way we do this, two of our
newer colleges used recycled water for all irrigation and cooling towers two of
the most prolific abusers of water on our campuses. Our environmental
sustainability Council at Alamo Colleges meets monthly to
discuss ways forward in becoming pioneers and sustainability. At Alamo
Colleges our goal is to empower the diverse communities around us while
educating our students, faculty and staff about the significant impact each person
can make protecting our limited resources, this commitment is part of our
culture, our way of life. We are proud to be leaders recognized nationally in
protecting our limited resources, leaders in the adoption of environmentally
sustainable practices, leaders in protecting Mother Earth .Alamo Colleges,
Dare to Dream, Prepared to Lead.