Keene State College’s Technology, Design and Safety Center (TDS Center), which opened in October of 2012, is now the third-largest producer of solar energy on the Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) system. Manchester International Airport is the top solar-power producer and Favorite Foods in Somersworth is the second. There are currently 719 customers throughout the PSNH service area that are generating all or a portion of their electricity via the sun.
The large solar array atop the TDS Center became functional in May and is projected to produce 15 percent of the building’s power needs. This milestone brings the TDS Center closer to LEED Platinum certification for its energy efficiency. “The building houses state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, which in sum use a great deal of energy,” KSC Interim President Jay Kahn said. “These solar panels will significantly reduce our dependence on traditional electricity sources. It’s a win-win.”
Because of the center’s sustainable design, the College received $150,000 in energy rebates from PSNH, which helped offset the cost of the solar system array system.
One of Haiti’s problems stems from a severe lack of skilled construction workers, a need that became woefully apparent following the 2010 earthquake. For most construction projects, workers are brought in from the Dominican Republic, a somewhat absurd solution in a country suffering from high unemployment. But education in Haiti is not free, making it an impossible dream for many citizens. The drop-out rate is high, leaving many with little education and few prospects for employment. These often travel to the capital city where their lives can rapidly disintegrate.
When Peter Temple, associate professor of architecture, learned through contacts at the Boston chapter of Architecture for Humanity (AfH) that a Boston-based Haitian group, the Organization of Support to the Development of Plateau Central (OSDPC), had hopes of building a vocational school in Haiti’s Central Plateau, he realized that this presented a perfect opportunity for his Communicorps students to step up to a real-world challenge and provide an architectural plan that should offer long-lasting benefit. The OSDPC been given a building site near the Haitian city of Hinche and had begun the necessary fundraising, and the Communicorps students spent the semester designing a vocational school to teach construction trades and auto mechanics. The plan is actually for a small campus of buildings that will include the main school building, a working auto garage, residential housing for teachers and staff, an administration building, and a separate large dining facility, all within a walled compound. With adequate funding, the school will be able to train Haitians in needed job skills that they otherwise could never afford. Continue reading Communicorps Students Design Vocational School for Haiti→
“Keene State College continues to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability through actions all year long. From dining services to academics, sustainability is a value that is lived in every facet of the College,” said Mary Jensen, Keene State College Campus Sustainability Officer. “Students, faculty, and staff are truly united in this value, and I look forward to expanding our sustainability efforts by building on collaborations across campus and throughout our community to make even greater positive impacts.”
AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education has awarded KSC its Silver rating in its STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, & Rating System) program.
“STARS is an assessment of the sustainability work of the whole campus: education and research, operations, planning, administration, and engagement,” explained Mary Jensen, KSCs sustainability officer. “The rating comes from the many sustainable activities on campus, from all of those areas. From the number of faculty teaching classes related to sustainability, to the standards in IT for purchasing computers, to the fostering of diversity, to the financial aid we offer, to the gender-neutral housing, to the food composting and reduced-water shower heads.” Continue reading KSC Wins STARS Sustainability Silver→
In keeping with it’s standing as one of North America’s greenest campuses, Keene State was recently recognized for joining the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge and taking steps to minimize food waste. KSC is now composting pre-table food waste, thereby eliminating a significant amount of material from the waste stream.
During the 31st Annual Northeast Recycling Conference, the EPA recognized Keene State College, UNH, and Bates College (Lewiston, Maine) and other NH restaurants and organizations that are composting of food scraps on a meaningful scale.