It's easy being green at NCC!
by Katherine Noll, photos by Carlo Acerra,
Functional, beautiful and environmentally-friendly buildings that are also affordable are not something only to be imagined in the distant future. They are being built right now and Northampton Community College's Monroe Campus is a shining example. A golden example, in fact. The Monroe Campus, which opened in August 2014, is officially LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED rating system recognizes construction practices that increase profitability while reducing negative environmental impacts. Plus, they are healthier for the occupants, too, so it is a win-win-win!
On December 10, students gathered to celebrate the official confirmation of the campus' gold certification. The energy-efficient natural light from the large and numerous windows flooded the Food Court, demonstrating just one of the LEED features that NCC was recognized for.
"This campus is literally a living and learning laboratory demonstrating what it means to be sustainable and what it means for our students to be great stewards of our planet," said Dr. Erickson, president of NCC.
The laboratory is already producing real, measurable results. "By virtue of our solar panels, we have avoided adding 500 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Multiple that over many years and think of the impact it will have on our environment," Dean of the Monroe Campus Matt Connell shared.
"LEED certified buildings save money and resources," student Rebecca Cullen, president of Student Governance, explained before introducing a film created by Professor John Tindell, the NCC Film Society, and the Sustainability Committee. The short film highlights the many green initiatives put to use at the Monroe Campus, including solar panels, geothermal pipes, natural lighting, energy-efficient electrical lighting, the collection and reuse of rainwater, and recycling.
Silvia Hoffman of MKSD Architects spoke, standing in the realization of the plans that she, members of the design team and all those involved in the construction of the campus had envisioned. "It's a testament to NCC and what they represent in our community. It shows that buildings that are beautiful, functional, affordable, and green are doable." She went on to thank Strunk-Albert Engineering, Dewey Engineering, and Mark Culp, NCC director of facilities, and the facilities staff for their work on the project.
Students Taylor Natiello and Morgan Natiello created a web site to showcase the LEED features at the Monroe Campus. They also held a video contest, asking students to highlight the environmentally-friendly features found on campus. The winners, Skyler Miller and Paul Corona, were announced at the celebration and their videos were shown.
After the presentations, celebrants got to check out displays created by Morgan Natiello and enjoy cake, although attaining LEED Gold Certification was not a piece of cake, yet well worth the efforts!