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Eco Friendly/Environmental Campus Locations and Initiatives

Eco friendly initiatives, areas and points of interest on the RVCC campus which are of importance to the environment and part of RVCC's sustainability story.

RVCC Power Plant

RVCC Power Plant

RVCC was ​one of the first community colleges in the country to run an energy-saving cogeneration plant, which has contributed to an emissions reduction of 51 percent since 2005.  In 2007, RVCC installed a 1.4MW cogeneration engine becoming the first community college in the country to do so. ​(Hudson Valley Community College installed a cogeneration plant burning methane from a landfill in 2004.) Cogeneration is the process of combined heat and power (CHP) which is the concurrent production of electricity or mechanical power and useful thermal energy (heating​, cooling​, and domestic hot water) from a single source of energy. CHP is not a single technology but a suite of technologies that generate electricity at the point of use with a natural gas engine generator, allowing the heat that would normally be lost in power generation, transmission, and distribution processes to be recovered for heating and/or cooling. This allows for much greater improvement in overall fuel efficiency, resulting in lower operating costs and CO2 emissions. To reduce smog-producing NOx emissions from the engine, urea derived from pig urine, is injected into the exhaust from the engine. The goal of the plant is to reduce carbon emissions by 1900 tons per year. 

EV Charging Stations

Electric Vehicle Charging StationsElectric Vehicle Charging StationElectric Vehicle Charging Stations and Signage

RVCC has two dual-port Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations located in the upper level of Parking Lot 2 available to students, faculty, staff and the public. With electric cars becoming more popular, all four of the college’s electric car chargers are often in use during weekday business hours. Charging is available to all at $0.60 per hour.

Station equipment and installation were funded by grants from NJDEP’s It Pays to Plug In: NJ’s Electric Vehicle Charging Grant Program. RVCC was the winner of the 2018 NJ Charging Challenge: Electrify Your Workplace recognition program.

Electric vehicles offer the benefits of contributing to a cleaner environment, lower running costs, renewable electricity tariffs, government funding, reduced noise pollution, and increased resale value.

Color graphic of an electric car attached to a solar powered charging station with the words "Drive Electric Earth Day"

"EV Show and Tell" (sandwiches provided)

Thursday 4/28 12-2:30pm, Science Courtyard or upper Lot 2

EV owners show their cars and share their experiences. To register to show your car or for a chance to win a $250 gift card, visit the event registration page. We already have sign-ups for Kia Niro, Audi e-tron, Ioniq Electric, and a Tesla Model Y! Co-sponsored by the Environmental Sustainability Committee, the RVCC Car Club, the Central Jersey Electric Auto Association, and RideWise.

Parking Lot 5 Solar Array

Parking Lot 5 Solar ArrayParking Lot 5 Solar Array close up

In fall 2011, a solar array was installed in Parking Lot 5 to power the Arts and Childcare buildings. It generates 446kW and meets approximately 90% of the demand of these two buildings. This array was installed as a parking canopy on the existing parking area which provides shade for the parked vehicles. 

Solar energy helps stabilize or reduce energy costs by replacing the electricity purchased from local utility with lower-cost power.  A solar system produces electricity with no emissions, no greenhouse gases, no pollution and no waste products.  There is an endless supply of sunlight as a fuel source – and it’s free.  Having a solar array generating electricity which is used at the location where it’s being produced, avoids the need for costly electric infrastructure.

Workforce Solar Array

Workforce building with field of ground mounted solar panelsWorkforce solar field

Ground mounted solar panels can be installed anywhere where there's sufficient open space and sunlight exposure.  RVCC has a ground mounted solar array next to the Workforce Building.

The capacity of the Workforce array is 250 kw, enough electricity to power 50 single family homes.  The solar panels generate DC, direct current, the same type of electricity that a battery generates. Six electronic invertors convert the DC power into alternating current, AC, the power that is used by motors, lighting, and appliances. If more power is available form the solar array than is needed by the Workforce Building, the power is fed back into the electric grid.  At night, the grid provides power to the building.  

Bat Houses

Bathouses on poles above gardensBat House

Bat houses provide a place for bats to roost and help the bat population to grow as they are threatened by habitat loss, wind turbines and a fungal disease known as White-Nose Sydrome.  In addition, bats can eat close to their body weight in insects every night so providing bats with a home can provide you with a natural remedy for insect control.   

Bats raise their young, or pups, in a roost usually under bark or in standing dead tree cavities.  Some bats will roost in houses or barns.  Bats prefer a sunny location to keep their pups warm and they need the roost to be up high to give enough clearance for them to swoop in and out of the roost.  It is usually a tight space but one that allows them to hang while sheltered.   

The two species that most commonly use bat houses in the northeast United States are big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) and little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus). One little brown bat can eat 60 medium-sized moths or over 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in one night.

Bat houses should be installed in areas that are a mix of agricultural, forested, and urban landscapes with shelter from the wind and a water source close by.  It is best to install bat houses in the spring when bats come out of hibernation to roost.

If you are evicting bats from your home but would like to offer them an alternative roost site, install the bat house at least 2 weeks before the eviction to give the bats time to explore and familiarize themselves with the bat house before they are excluded from their original roost. 

Bat Facts: 

  • Bats are protected under the NJ endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act, making it illegal to hunt, capture or kill them.
  • Rabies infections are relatively rare in bats; less than one percent of bats carry the rabies virus and human attacks by bats are rare. Only a small number of bats, usually from 30 to 65, are annually found infected with rabies in New Jersey.
  • All of the bats found in New Jersey are strictly insect eaters.
  • Some bats congregate in colonies, often in buildings.  These social bats usually return to the same roost year after year and start maternity colonies in the spring.  The young are born in June and July.
  • Bats are true hibernators and usually enter caves, mines, buildings, and even sewers in the fall to hibernate over winter.
  • Individual bats can live to be 30 years old; colonies can be present at the same location for over 100 years.
  • In many ecosystems, bats play a key role in pollinating plants.
  • There are more than 1,300 species of bats in the world.
  • Some bats use echolocation, or high pitched chirps which bounce off objects in front of them, to find their way in the dark. 

Composter

Composter behind the College Center/Hunterdon HallCompost bin with sign showing pictures of types of foods to place in the bin.

In April of 2020, RVCC installed a new campus composter near the cafeteria loading dock, thanks to funding from PepsiCo and the Gibson Fund.  Subsequently, RVCC applied for a Recycling Enhancement Act grant for composting implementation and education through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and has opened positions for two interns to educate the campus community about the on-site composter and the food waste it accepts.  The interns will also monitor and document the food waste collected and composter performance.

One-third of all the food produced in the world goes waste -- that is about 1.3 billion tons of food that is squandered and ultimately goes to landfills, where it decomposes and releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is considered 28 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide in the pollution of our atmosphere. To put it simply, wasting food is destroying our environment. 

Please help by putting the following materials in our campus compost collection bins:

- Vegetables, Fruits, and Food scraps. - Meat, fish, shellfish, bones. - Bread, noodles, rice, beans, grains. - Eggshells, dairy products. - Jams, sauces, salad dressings, cooking oil. - Pastries, cookies, muffins, cakes. - Nuts, seeds, chips, popcorn
-Teabags -Coffee grounds

Please DO NOT put in paper/plastics/anything that is not food in the compost collection bins.

All food scraps collected in the compost collection bins in the cafeteria, by the cafe, and in lounge areas around campus are being turned into a soil amendment for use on campus. So please put only food scraps in these bins, otherwise the collected material will end up in the trash.

Graphic describing compost food scraps with cartoon depictions of acceptable foods.

Rain Barrels

Rain BarrelsRain barrels

These large rain collection barrels in front of the Conference Center collect rain water from the roof that will run underneath the garden through an irrigation line and feed all of the plants in the Enabling Garden, with overflow to the Rain Garden.

The Bateman Student Center and the Workforce building have rainwater collection and cisterns that feed toilets and irrigate the Bateman Green Wall.  The Grounds Garage has a rain barrel that is used for watering plants and self-watering planters. 

New construction projects will have rain water capture of some form wherever feasible.

Clothing Donation Bins

 

3 Clothing donation bins

Clothes donations to clothing bins stop landfills from getting bigger and keep usable material from being thrown in the trash. Many mass-produced clothing lines have fibers inside of them that will never break down, no matter how much time passes. 

In addition, when textiles are placed in landfills, they can release two of the most damaging chemicals to our environment: methane and carbon dioxide. Keeping clothing from reaching landfills helps stop the release of these gases that harm the planet.

Clothes donations also create less demand for new clothing.  With less demand, textile factories will not produce as many clothes, thus reducing the plants' overall greenhouse gas emissions. Textile factories also require huge amounts of water and pollute the water through the dyeing process. When the demand for new clothes goes down, the amount of dyeing is reduced, saving tons of water in the process.

Clothes donations also can help people that have been affected by natural disasters as a result of climate change.  Clothes that would have been sitting in a landfill taking up space will instead help the people that need them the most. 

RVCC also started a collection partnered with Soles4Souls, a non-profit social enterprise that creates sustainable jobs and provides relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. 

Donated shoes will be repurposed and distributed through Soles4Souls’ micro-enterprise program that create jobs in Haiti, Honduras and other developing nations. The micro-enterprise model provides individuals the ability to start small businesses by providing a steady supply of high-quality, low-cost product.

Resource Center and Food Pantry

Handing out a can of foodShelves of boxed and canned foot items

RVCC Resource Center & Food Pantry is located on the second floor of the College Center in the back of the student lounge/game room. We also have a dedicated outdoor entrance that is accessible from the delivery entrance of the school; across from the softball field.

The Resource Center and Food Pantry strives to build collaboration among a variety of community resources to help alleviate the many barriers that prevent students from achieving their educational goals.

RVCC Food Pantry is open to students, staff members, and faculty of Raritan Valley Community College. No appointments are necessary to use the food pantry. There is no limit in regards to how long anyone may utilize services. 

For contact information, hours of operation and for information on how to donate or help, visit: 

Tree Plantings

Tree saplings newly planted in PVC tree whipsWhite PVC tube used to protect tree saplings