Environmental sustainability is a theme in Chesapeake College’s 2014-2018 Strategic Plan. That plan calls for Chesapeake to be “a leader in environmental sustainability.” In keeping with that mission and vision, the College is a recognized leader in the regional sustainability dialogue.
Because we are located in an agricultural region adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay, we have an obligation to make a positive impact on the environment through partnerships, leadership, education and modeling. The College has signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, thereby pledging to reduce our energy footprint to zero by 2025. Through our institutional actions, including installation of renewable energy, pursuit of higher-than-required LEED certification for building renovations, restoration of our campus watershed, and more, we model environmental responsibility on the Eastern Shore and inspire environmentally engaged citizens.
Center for Leadership in Environmental Education (CLEEn)
Chesapeake College is committed to environmental sustainability as a global and regional responsibility. In partnership with local governments in the five county College service area, secondary school systems, other colleges, state and federal agencies, the business community, nonprofit organizations, and citizens’ groups, Chesapeake College and CLEEn work to promote sustainability through education, workforce training, and outreach. Chesapeake College has a degree program in environmental science, and in collaboration with other bay area colleges, offers students opportunities for related, specialized degrees. The College also offers academic degrees in environmentally important career paths, including agriculture, landscape design, and landscape management. Courses in wind power, solar power, geothermal and electrical systems have been offered by the Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Training.
For additional information, please visit: http://www.chesapeake.edu/CLEEN
LEED Certification for the Health Professions and Athletics Center (HPAC)
The renovation and expansion of the Health Professions and Athletics Center was designed with sustainability in mind. The building features a high-efficiency heating and cooling system, supported by 200 geothermal wells; efficient lighting systems including LED bulbs, daylight harvesting technology, and room occupancy sensors; abundant natural light inside the building; energy-efficient windows; a solar hot water system that preheats water for the building; and dedicated parking for EVs, carpools, and efficient vehicles. We have applied for LEED Platinum status for the HPAC building.
The 50kw Endurance Energy turbine, installed by Atech Energy, is visible from U.S. Route 50. The equipment converts wind energy to electrical power used at the Eastern Shore Higher Education Center, located on Chesapeake’s campus.
Solar Photovoltaic Array:
Chesapeake College has recently installed 1.76 megawatts (MW) of solar electricity generation capacity. The main solar array, installed near the Chesapeake athletic fields along Route 213, has 5,126 ground-mounted units. The project also includes 2,430 solar panels atop new parking-lot canopies, constructed as part of the Health Professions and Athletics Center project, and includes a set of 3 panels installed near the wind turbine for teaching purposes. Solar energy provider SolarCity was selected as the partner for the project. The California-based company currently serves 15 states and Washington, D.C.
Chesapeake President Barbara Viniar said that the new solar project will further raise the college’s profile as a regional leader in environmental responsibility. Constructed without taxpayer or student funds, the project will reduce Chesapeake’s reliance on fossil- fueled electricity by approximately 35 percent. In addition, the project could save the college $100,000 per year over the next 20 years. The benefits of the solar project go beyond finances, Dr. Viniar said. Part of Chesapeake’s mission is to aid economic development and sustainability on the Eastern Shore. “We have an obligation to educate people about renewable energy and sustainability. We’re doing this because it is morally and economically right. It’s wonderful when those two things come together,” Viniar said, adding that Chesapeake has already reduced energy consumption by 16.6 percent in the last five years.
In tandem with the solar panels, Chesapeake College has proposed to install up to 2 megawatts of battery storage capacity. This battery installation, developed in partnership with Delmarva Power, its parent company Pepco Holdings, Inc., and New Jersey-based battery developer AF Mensah, will allow Chesapeake to support continuous operations in two campus buildings, the Caroline Student Center and the Economic Development Center, in case of emergency. This first-of-a-kind engineering project will use the solar panels to charge the battery array, and the battery will contribute to the regional grid by helping supply steady, reliable power during periods of peak demand.
Electric Vehicle Charging Station:
Chesapeake College has 4 electric vehicle charging stations, located near the Health Professions and Athletics Center. The cost for charging is 13 cents per kwh. Another 10 EV charging stations can be found underneath the solar parking-lot canopies near the HPAC building.
In cooperation with the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Chesapeake College is making strides to improve its stormwater infrastructure. Early efforts involved replanting native vegetation around one of the campus’s two stormwater ponds, and raising a storm drain to encourage water to percolate into the soil. Future projects, currently in the planning stages and engineered by Environmental Concern, Inc., include a regenerative stormwater conveyance downstream of the campus stormwater infrastructure and the addition of two rain gardens near the main entrance to campus. Together, these improvements protect and improve water quality in the Wye East River, which begins on campus. These projects will also be available as “living laboratories” for education, both for Chesapeake College students and visitors to the campus.
The College presently recycles paper, plastic bottles and cardboard. These items are picked up by Queen Anne’s County Public Works employees and counted as part of the County Recycling Program. The Queen Anne’s county Board of Public Works also maintains a recycling center on our campus which provides igloos for paper, plastic, cardboard and glass. This location serves not only Chesapeake College, but also the residents of Wye Mills, Maryland.
Green Certifications and Recognitions:
Maryland Green Registry
U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge:
Second Nature and the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (includes the campus carbon footprint):