Energy efficiency and environmental stewardship are standard operating procedures at Kirkwood Community College. Now the state of Iowa is recognizing the college for its hard work and green thinking.
Kirkwood is one of just 12 organizations and businesses to win an Environmental Excellence award from the governor’s office and the only to win two awards. The college won the overall Environmental Excellence Award as well as the Special Recognition in Waste Management Award.
“It’s great to be recognized by the state for the work we incorporate into our daily tasks,” said Facilities Director Tom Kaldenberg. “Every time we build something on campus, or look at a new initiative with our facilities, we look at our impact on the environment and energy-efficiencies we can make.”
In winning the overall Environmental Excellence Award, the state noted that Kirkwood “has taken innovative and bold steps toward being a leader in environmental stewardship. As the college devotes resources to environmental improvement programs, it consistently practices sustainable decision-making by balancing considerations of environmental impact, community and social responsibility, and financial outcomes.”
Reducing and managing energy consumption, a roof system that catches rainwater, installing a wind turbine, an extensive tree planting effort, planting native prairie and waste reduction are some of the things Kirkwood does as part of its commitment to sustainability.
The state singled-out the early success of Kirkwood’s waste reduction initiative, with the Special Recognition in Waste Management award. Kirkwood’s commingling program launched campus-wide at the start of the fall 2011 semester. The program removed trash receptacles from classrooms and made recycling receptacles available on each floor of every building.
In the first four months of the program, Kirkwood diverted 26 tons of trash from the landfill. The college’s goal is 75 percent landfill diversion by 2014.
On Tuesday, the Iowa Recycling Association named Kirkwood the winner of the Best School Recycling Program. Earlier in the year the college was named a Tree Campus USA, by the National Arbor Day Foundation, and installed an electric vehicle charge station for public use. The college also has plans to build the Iowa Sustainability Village on campus, teaching the public about sustainable practices in design and construction.