Article and Photography by Jessica Conway | Owl Staff
Students cross a path lined with Victorian lamp posts through the HCC campus. On one side is a fishpond for the science department and on the other is a small valley of reeds.
As they venture through the campus on this picturesque byway, these students may not realize that many of the lights on campus use multiple switching levels to reduce energy consumption and light pollution, or that the reeds that sway so gently also clean the run-off from rainwater during storms.
Harford Community College has made several efforts to create an environment that doesn’t take too much from the earth, but still retains the ability to cater to a fast-paced society. The Sustainability Committee, run by co-chairs Steve Garey and Tami Imbierowicz, has initiated a number of changes, both big and small, that all contribute to HCC’s green movement.
Bathroom stall doors are 100% recycled, the carpets in Joppa Hall are recycled, the urinals are waterless and “save 40 thousand gallons [of water] per year,” says Garey. The Joppa, Edgewood, and Towson buildings are all LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver buildings. This means that the school has made enough changes to be upgraded to level silver under the requirements of the U.S. Green Building Council.
One of the most impressive sustainable initiatives taken at Harford is the wind turbine that “provides power for a pump to aerate the pond,” according to http://www.harford.edu. This is possible with the help of some photovoltaic solar panels to increase the productivity.
“It keeps the fish and turtles happy,” says Garey. The water from the bioretention ponds actually come from natural rainfall and run-off, thus it is all recycled naturally instead of becoming stagnant.
Geothermal wells, located at the Hays-Heighe house, the Observatory, and the Plant Services Building, are another eco-friendly feature HCC has to offer. Geothermal wells “reduce energy consumption by 30% to 50% by using the earth as a heat sink for summer cooling and winter heating,” according to harford.edu.
All wood in the Joppa, Edgewood, and Towson buildings come from a certified forest: a tree farm where trees are grown to be cut down rather than cutting them down from wild forests. Aberdeen Hall also has an 11,000-watt solar panel array on the roof.
Kermit the Frog says, “It’s not easy being green,” but it isn’t hard if you make the time to do it. So, the next time you finish that drink, throw it in one of the recycling bins strewn across campus. Who knows? It may become a bench here on campus.