Greenfield Community College Joins the Greenfield 10% Challenge to Reduce Energy Use

April 15, 2010 – Greenfield Community College has joined the Greenfield 10% Challenge, pledging to reduce the College’s energy use by 10% and furthering the College’s ongoing commitment to energy conservation and renewable energy.

The 10% Challenge is a campaign of Greening Greenfield to encourage area residents, businesses, and institutions to sign a pledge that they will reduce their energy use by 10% by the end of 2010. GCC President Bob Pura said, “As a member of this community, GCC is pleased to participate in the Greenfield 10% Challenge. Together, our energy conservation efforts can help improve the economic sustainability and quality of life for everyone in our area.” The Greening Greenfield campaign is a collaborative effort of the citizen Greening Greenfield Energy Committee (GGEC) and the Town of Greenfield, MA. Greening Greenfield’s goal is to build a sustainable Greenfield so that current and future generations can sustain and enjoy life in this beautiful, abundant valley.

Commenting on GCC’s participation in the 10% Challenge, Becca King, Co-Chair of Greening Greenfield said, “We’re thrilled that GCC has joined the 10% Challenge. What GCC does impacts Greenfield’s town-wide energy use. As an educational institution and community leader, GCC has a big influence on everyone in the community. We are particularly pleased that GCC understands the importance of reducing energy use before adding renewable energy, and of encouraging others to take action. We hope that other community members will follow GCC’s example and participate in the 10% Challenge.”

According to the Greenfield Energy Audit, in 2008 Greenfield residents, town buildings and businesses spent over $87 million on energy and each resident emitted 19.5 tons of climate change emissions. Of the money Greenfield spent on energy, $65 million went out of the community to pay for gasoline, heating oil, and natural gas. GCC, and everyone who participates in the Greenfield 10% Challenge, will save money and help Greenfield reach its long term goal to reduce climate change emissions 80% by 2050…and keep energy dollars in the region.
While Greenfield Community College is joining the Greenfield 10% Challenge today, the College has been working on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for a number of years. In 2007, GCC President Bob Pura signed the “American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment,” a high-visibility national effort to make campuses more sustainable and address global warming by making institutional commitments to reduce and ultimately neutralize greenhouse gas emissions on campus. Currently, 677 colleges and universities across the country have signed on to the Commitment which is modeled after the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

GCC has already implemented many energy conservation and renewable energy projects. Montserrat Archbald, staff assistant in GCC’s Peer Tutoring Center and chair of the Green Campus Committee, said, “Some of our energy conservation accomplishments include consolidating computer servers and reducing the number of printers used in offices, providing recycling bins in all rooms and corridors and at events such as the Green River Festival, adding spigots to water fountains for filling water bottles, upgrading doors to eliminate drafts, installing motion sensor fluorescents in classrooms and offices and compact fluorescents in office desk lamps, increasing the insulation in the East Building and installing a white roof to reduce air conditioning costs, and installing 4KW of photovoltaic panels to produce electricity.”
Brian Adams, GCC Professor of Environmental Studies and Natural Resources and GCC’s Climate Commitment Coordinator explained how GCC will conduct an energy audit of the East Building to get a complete picture of the energy use in that building. Adams said, “Along with the work we’ve already done, GCC has a number of ambitious renewable energy and energy conservation projects that are already funded and will be completed in the next eight to ten months.”

Completed and scheduled projects include:

  • Design and construction of the new Core addition and extensive renovation of the existing Core building (funded by the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management - DCAM), including a geothermal heating and cooling system (funded in part with a U.S. Department of Energy grant earmarked by Congressman John Olver). All of the new construction is LEED-certified (LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings).

  • Construction of an energy neutral greenhouse at the south end of the Main Building. The greenhouse will be a teaching/learning facility and will produce as much energy as it consumes. The funds for the greenhouse come from a very generous donation by Don and Sherry Rice and a U.S. Department of Energy grant earmarked by Congressman John Olver.

  • Installation of a solar hot water system on part of the Main Building.

  • Renovation of the existing East Building roof, including insulation of the roof to cut heating costs. The new roof is white, instead of the traditional black, so that summer sun will be reflected. The insulation and color of the roof will greatly reduce the need for summer air conditioning, and cut electricity use.

  • Installation of an 80KW solar electric (photovoltaic) system on the south-facing roof to produce zero carbon electricity and reduce purchasing electricity made from fossil fuels and nuclear power. The solar feasibility study done by the state for this project estimates energy cost savings of $487,000 over 25 years. That would amount to 3.247 million kWh (kilowatt hour) savings. The system is also funded by DCAM.

  • Installation of a large wood pellet-burning boiler to provide 90% of the East Building’s heating needs and reduce oil use for heat.

  • Installation of a solar hot water system.

The solar hot water systems, energy audit and recommended weatherization measures, and wood-pellet burning boiler are all funded by a federal stimulus-funds grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources obtained through collaboration with the Sandri Companies.     
In addition to doing the practical work of energy conservation and renewable energy on the College’s physical plant, GCC “preaches what it practices” in the education that GCC students receive. The President’s Climate Commitment 2009 Annual Report recognizes GCC for its 28 credit Certificate in Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency (RE/EE) and a 60 credit Associates of Liberal Arts in RE/EE. The RE/EE program is one of the fastest growing programs at GCC with over 100 students in the degree or certificate program.  GCC has successfully launched 20 new energy courses, taught in part by dedicated practitioners (architects, engineers, business owners, etc.). An innovative credit/non-credit format has drawn employed and unemployed workers along with “traditional” students into these over-enrolled classes making for eclectic, diverse, and exciting teaching and learning opportunities. GCC partners with businesses, employment and training organizations, vocational high schools, and non-profits to get essential feedback on jobs and curriculum. For example, GCC is exploring a potential partnership with Franklin County Technical School to build a renewable energy lab at the Tech School that will serve as a teaching site for both GCC and Franklin County Tech students and for workforce development training programs. Over the past few years, GCC has helped place numerous students in “green collar” jobs, such as energy auditing and photovoltaic and solar hot water installation.

GCC’s education efforts related to energy conservation impact all students, not just those enrolled in the RE/EE program. As part of GCC’s effort to increase awareness about the College’s energy conservation efforts, the Greenfield 10% Challenge logo is displayed on digital signs that provide information on campus. Encouraging students, faculty and staff to join the 10% Challenge is a way of individualizing GCC’s campus-wide effort. GCC understands that an informed student body and an educated workforce are essential in meeting the challenging energy and environmental demands confronting us.

The Greenfield 10% Challenge is a program of the Greening Greenfield campaign which aims to use “greening” as the economic and inspirational engine to build a more sustainable Greenfield so that current and future generations can enjoy live in this beautiful, abundant valley. To date, over 400 households and 27 businesses have joined the 10% Challenge and received a lawn sign to show their commitment to the campaign.


FOR RELEASE: April 15, 2010

Becca King, Co-chair, Greening Greenfield Energy Committee … 413-774-5667
Brian Adams, Greenfield Community College Climate Commitment Coordinator … 413-775-1454
Montserrat Archbald, GCC Green Campus Committee, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. … 413-775-1331

For more information about Greening Greenfield, Greenfield Community College’s energy conservation efforts, and the Greenfield 10% Challenge, see:


Greenfield receives Leading By Example Award from Governor Patrick for our 'greening' efforts