Growing a greener college

By KALEB PAFFORD, Ranger Reporter:

At Amarillo College, being socially responsible also means being a good steward of resources. That’s why conserving energy, water and money is one of the institution’s key goals. Amarillo College has taken several steps to grow a greener campus, and students can play a key role in saving both the environment and AC funds.

In 2014, AC adopted a new energy conservation policy. “Two years ago, AC started a plan to try and save on our utility bill by about 10% per year just by cutting out the waste,” Terry Hawthorne, AC energy manager, said. So far the college has saved more than $300,000 by cutting energy costs. The goal is to save $3 million within a 10 year period.

Another resource-saving change focuses on the times and locations of classes. AC has started to schedule classes in closer time slots and combine classes into certain buildings, so that less electricity or natural gas is used. “We also have a very specific plan for watering and a really sophisticated system for irrigation to help us save water, which is a very precious natural resource,” Hawthorne said.

In another conservation move, AC recently ended the paper-recycling program with KB Recycling that began in September of 2012 and implemented a new program that combines recycling with paper shredding. “We decided to go with one vendor for recycling and we were offered a very good deal with Iron Mountain,” said Kimberly Carlile, director of purchasing and records retention. “We saved close to $9,000,000 a year by going with one vendor,” Carlile said.

Combining the paper recycling and shredding isn’t the only new objective of the new recycling policy, according to Carlile. “Recycling now includes the East, West and Downtown campuses, instead of just Washington Street,” said Carlile, noting that each campus is working together to reduce costs and waste.

Students can contribute to campus conservation efforts, said Hawthorne. Many students, however, are unaware of the part they can play. “I do recycle from time to time. When I was a kid I used to go outside and find plastic bottles, but that was awhile ago,” said Nars Rajit, an information technology major.

“I do lead a green life at home but I’m not sure what to do on campus,” Daniel Lopez, a radiology major, said.

“Students can do a number of things such as turning out the light in a room when they’re the last to leave, whether that is a classroom, restroom or lobby area,” said Hawthorne. He also recommends closing open doors to prevent wasting air conditioning and disposing of paper in the bins or tubs placed throughout campuses. Hawthorne said anyone who notices a broken door, faucet or something else that could impact conservation efforts should report it to the Facilities Management Center at 806-371-5363 so it can be repaired quickly. “It’s everyone’s responsibility to do their part to keep our school green,” Hawthorne said.

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