Campus Moves Toward Greater Energy Efficiency

Sara Purington

Changes have helped to create a more sustainable and energy-efficient campus for Glendale, but more improvements are on the way.

Through the efforts of staff, faculty, and students, the college has gone through various changes and upgrades to make the campus and its facilities more efficient and greener.

For example, reclaimed water is used in the Administration, San Gabriel, Library, Health Sciences and Cimmarusti Science complex building for toilets and irrigation. This has saved millions of gallons of water. In 2004, 78 waterless urinals were installed which saves an estimated 4,637,820 gallons of water a year.

“The things we are doing are saving money,” said Ron Nakasone, interim vice president of administrative services.

There has also been a computerized electricity demand limiting system installed for the main power on campus. This technology watches over usage of electricity and helps limit over use which has saved $23,000 a month. There is also an energy management system which controls major air conditioning systems on campus and allows them to run more efficiently.

Solar panels atop the Cimmarusti Science Center offset a portion of the building’s electrical demands. The campus also uses recycled paper for the paper towels and other paper products. Green certified products are also used in campus cleaning.

However, even with all of these improvements, Sustainability Coordinator Michael Reed has been advocating for the campus to participate in a comprehensive energy audit by Glendale Water and Power (GWP). Several weeks ago the school started meeting with GWP to begin the audit process. This audit will review how much energy the campus uses and give ideas of where changes can be made.

According to an article Reed wrote for the Chaparral, a newsletter for staff and faculty, “GWP is eager to rebate us 100% of the cost of a comprehensive energy audit on campus.” This means that the school won’t have to pay anything for the audit.
But this won’t cover the cost of improvements.

“Changes may require money,” said Nakasone. He also said he hopes to use a loan to make the improvements and then use the money saved by these improvements to pay of the loan.

“GCC’s energy costs are now roughly $1.8 million a year,” said Reed. “Even a modest reduction in these expenses would free up substantial funds.”

“Simple ideas can make a significant difference and they come from anyone,” said Daniel Padilla of Campus Facilities. “It seems like everyone on campus is becoming more aware of the need to reduce our consumption of energy and resources and even a small action adds up when many are doing it.”

Reed has been the campus sustainability coordinator since this school year and was influential in getting the energy audit underway, but now he feels that the next step is education.

“We need to educate people about a world that’s changing,” said Reed. “We will have to adapt. We have the opportunity to be the first generation to reduce the destruction.”
Reed hopes to start some sort of film festival on campus to show environmental movies and documentaries about what the planet is facing. He is also campaigning for expanding the curriculum in classrooms.

“In a college that serves the equivalent of over 15,000 full-time students, we offer not a single course on environmental stewardship or environmental literature of philosophy and only one course that explicitly deals with human impacts on the planet, Geography 106.” Reed wrote in his article. “This is the biggest problem facing the next generation and especially the next generation. This problem faces those we educate now,” said Reed.

Reed has also been involved in the GCC Green Team, which according to their proposed Board Policies, believes, “environmental sustainability is critically important to Glendale Community College, the city of Glendale, the State of California, and the nation. Glendale College strives to provide leadership and to be an asset to the City of Glendale.” The team has been involved in advocating to the board for changes on campus to support sustainability.

The campus will also be hosting the “Ready Set Go Green” convention on campus on June 26.

“We can all work together to help protect the environment, conserve our precious natural resources, and promote green initiatives in the 21st Senate District,” said State Senator Carol Liu, who is coordinating with Glendale on the convention. This convention will showcase ways to go “green” and other opportunities to participate in environmental programs and actions. It is also offering internship positions. To register visit its Web site

For more information on environment and sustainability on campus visit, For more information on the GCC Green Team visit its Facebook group at, group.php?gid=168990862563&ref=ts.