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Higher Education in Maryland

Prince George's Community College
Sustainable Design "Green Building" Initiatives

The term green building is essentially synonymous with sustainable building and is an approach designed to result in a property that reduces its impact on the environment, costs less to operate and improves the residents’ quality of life.

The United States Green Building Council definition of green design for the purpose of describing green building is: design and construction practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of buildings on the environment and occupants in the following five broad areas:

1.      Sustainable SitesExample: Erosion and sediment control, bicycle storage, storm water treatment.

2.      Safeguarding water and water efficiencyExample: Reduce or eliminate irrigation, water efficient landscaping.

3.      Energy Efficiency and Renewable EnergyExample: Building systems commissioning, energy analysis eliminate HCFC’s.

4.      Conservation of Materials and ResourcesExample: Recycling areas, certified wood and construction waste management.

5.      Indoor Environmental Air QualityExample: Low emitting paints, adhesives, daylight, energy monitoring etc;

A growing number of Colleges are making sustainable principles a fundamental part of their campus design. In both new construction and renovation, campuses are focusing on highly efficient buildings that reduce waste and minimize their impact while improving quality of life and educating the users. Green building considerations start with site selection and include building placement and design, materials and techniques used in construction and all the systems, appliances, and fixtures within the building. To date, the focus of green initiatives nationally has been primarily on new construction rather than renovation. Although there are fewer opportunities to Go Green during renovations, the opportunities are nonetheless significant and work pursuing.

The following sustainability features have been implemented at Prince George's Community College to promote a healthy and safe learning environment:

1.      Sustainable SitesExample: Erosion and sediment control, bicycle storage, storm water treatment.

  • Bio-retention facilities were constructed in conjunction with the Chesapeake Hall, Bladen Student Services, Continuing Education Building and High Technology Center construction projects. Bio-retention areas are landscaping features adapted to treat storm water runoff on the development site. They are commonly located in parking lot islands or within small pockets in residential land uses. Surface runoff is directed into shallow, landscaped depressions and these depressions are designed to incorporate many of the pollutant removal mechanisms that operate in forested ecosystems. The filtered runoff is collected in a perforated under drain and returned to the storm drain system. Bio-retention facilities are located in the following areas at Prince George's Community College: (a) Chesapeake Hall (rear of building); (b) Parking Lot D; (c) Parking Lot G; and (d) High Technology Center (west exterior).  
  • Green roofing technology incorporated into the roof design for the Center for Health Studies.
  • White reflective energy star roof (High Tech Center)

  • Pursuing installation of bike racks on campus to discourage the use of automobiles for local commuting.
  • Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) Detection Certification for PGCC's underground storage tanks that are in compliance with MDE criteria and standards.

  • 2.      Safeguarding Water and Water EfficiencyExample: Reduce or eliminate irrigation, water efficient landscaping.

    • Low flow plumbing fixtures (High Tech Center)
    • Low flow urinals are installed in the men restrooms at Marlboro Hall, Largo Student Center, Queen Anne and Novak Field House. We expect to reduce water consumption by dropping the flow from 5.1 to 1.4 gals per flush.
    • Water efficient landscaping practices employed for the majority of the campus which require little to no irrigation.  
    • Installing water meters at the track and all cooling towers so these areas will not be computed and included as part of the water bill.
    • Toilet room fixtures equipped with auto flow activation

    3.      Energy Efficiency and Renewable EnergyExample: Building systems commissioning, energy analysis eliminate Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC’s).

    • Building commissioning employed for the High Technology Center. When a building works properly, it uses less energy and provides a better environment for occupants. Building commissioning is a way to ensure that the sustainable systems that have been programmed for the building are working as designed. The goal of commissioning is to provide a more efficient building with fewer problems for the building owner and the best indoor environment for the occupants.
    • Eliminated use of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) (ozone layer damaging) refrigerants in chillers.
    • Energy efficient lighting which utilizes compact fluorescent bulbs and electronic ballast used throughout the campus.
    • Daylight controls—sunscreens and motorized shade devices (High Tech Center)
    • High performance windows that reduce solar heat gain (High Tech Center)
    • Boilers in the High Technology Center possess 94% thermal efficiency.
    • Large motors are controlled by variable frequency drives (VFDs) in the High Tech Center. A VFD is a system for controlling the rotational speed of an alternating current (AC) electric motor by controlling the frequency of the electrical power supplied to the motor. VFDs save energy and electric costs by running motors at less than 100% output when full power isn’t needed.
    • High efficiency motors used for the machinery (High Tech Center)
    • Gas fired boilers are used for heating purposes in (High Tech Center; Chesapeake Hall; Novak Field House; Bickford Natatorium; Facilities Building) versus electric heat.
    • Use of dual fired boilers (utilize oil and/or gas) versus electric in Bladen Hall. These boilers provide heating for Bladen Hall, Largo Student Center, Lanham Hall, Marlboro Hall, Queen Anne, Kent Hall and Accokeek Hall.  
    • The small air conditioning units utilize heat pumps versus electric heat in the High Tech Center.

     4.      Conservation of Materials and ResourcesExample: Recycling areas, certified wood and construction waste management.

    • College wide recycling program since 1997 - PGCC recycles all paper products, cardboard, newspaper, books, periodicals, magazines, aluminums and plastics. We do not recycle glass products for safety reasons, thus glass vending products are discouraged and severely limited on campus
    • Use of Green Seal Certifiable paper for restroom use, tissues and towels which are 100% recovered paper fiber meeting EPA guidelines for post consumer materials and Green Seal standards for bleaching, drinking, and packaging - products contain no added pigments, inks, dyes, or fragrances and have not been bleached using chlorine or any of its derivatives...

    • Color-coded cleaning material processes. Cleaning cloths, dry mopping and wet mopping technologies implemented to prevent cross-contamination, spread of disease and bacteria, and/or incidental chemical mixing via the use of standard "white rag/white mops".

    • Recycled materials used in the concrete, carpets and wall coverings (High Tech Center)

    5.      Indoor Environmental Air QualityExample: Low emitting paints, adhesives, daylight, energy monitoring etc;

    • Campus wide Energy Management System that controls temperature settings for all buildings on campus and controls exterior lighting.
    • Campus-wide annual carpet extraction - this a totally separate and distinct process from and in addition to quarterly shampooing and as-needed carpet spotting to prevent carpet "gases" (emissions) thus improving indoor air quality by 35%, extending carpet life from 3-7 years, and supporting noise reduction by 65%.
    • Use of HEPA filtration vacuum cleaners, (vacuums with material rated to trap 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 microns and larger), this resulting in a 70% reduction in vacuum dust emissions, a 45% increase in dust and particulate matter collection, and improved indoor air quality.   
    • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – which reduces and/or totally eliminates the use of pesticides, reduces the number of volatile organic compounds (VOC's) on the college campus, and creates an overall safer environment.

    • Use of massalin oil cloths and treated dusting cloth technologies to reduce dust and particulate matter by 30% - this process "traps and removes" approximately 80% of dust and particulate matter as compared to feather and lambswool dusting.

    • Use of low volatile organic compound (VOC) materials and paint finishes (High Tech Center).
    • Implementation of "Scrub and Recoat" vinyl composition tile (VCT) programs, therein reducing VOC's and the costs incurred via annual stripping, sealing and refinishing processes.
    • Use of micro-fiber cleaning technologies via the use of microfiber cloths - therein trapping and retaining soil better by approximately 60% over conventional cleaning cloths.
    • Use of a combined external/internal matting system at all campus building entrances - therein reducing the amount of soil and contaminants entering all campus buildings by 80%.  

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