College of the Rockies values the natural environment and social and economic prosperity which are the pillars of sustainability.
The College has established a committee of staff and students which actively pursues ways to enable our campus to operate in a more environmentally friendly, socially active and economically sustainable way as well as create awareness and provide guidance.
Cranbrook campus’ residence building utilizes two types of solar technology on the facility’s roof – photovoltaic and solar thermal - which allows the system to pull in as much heat as possible.
The College also installed photovoltaic panels on the roof of the Cranbrook campus’ Kootenay Centre building which was determined to be the biggest consumer of electricity and had the best physical space for the solar panels
109,000 kilo-watt hours of electricity per year, enough to operate 14 houses for a year – while reducing the College’s greenhouse gas emissions by 12,000 kilograms of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent). Combined, the solar systems have saved 26 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere
Pinnacle Hall trades building has a solar wall along one side which helps to draw heat into the building, improving indoor air quality and reducing heating and operating costs.
The south entrance expansion, completed in 2010, achieved certification by the Leadership in Energy in Environmental Design (LEED) certification program, indicating the new construction meets the highest environmental performance criteria in Canada.
Stickers have been placed on many of the classrooms reminding staff/students to turn the lights out after they finish using the room. We also encourage all our staff to turn out their office lights -- please note that if you go to your instructor's office and their lights are out, check to see if they have a lights out dangler on their door handle. Many instructors will turn their office lights out while they are teaching classes or in meetings.
The Lights Out concept has been applied to all our computer labs. Screensavers still use power. When you finish working on a computer, please shut them down completely. Shutting down the computer not only saves energy, but it also gives students a fresh boot-up when they access a machine.
Blue recycling bins are placed throughout our campuses. Please make note of which bins accept which material. Also, a complete recycling center is located at the east side of the main parking lot at the Cranbrook Campus -- you can deposit cans, newspaper, paper, glass and milk jugs here. There are similar drop off centres, which also accept plastics with the triangle number logo, located at the east side of the Wal-mart parking lot, and at the transfer centre.
Our Facilities Department have installed "Water Bottle Filling Station" throughout Kootenay Centre. These machines dispense chilled, filtered water into your own reusable water bottle. Our goal is to reduce the amount of plastic waste created through purchased water. With that in mind, we will be looking into the phasing out of water in the Kootenay Centre Vending machines altogether!
Thanks to a recent $30,000 grant from Columbia Basin Trust and a matching contribution from the College, we are planning to buy a new industrial composting machine. The idea being that all the waste produced from our culinary programs, our cafeteria, and from our staff offices and lunchrooms will all go into this industrial composter.
We estimate that this will reduce the amount of food going into the landfill by around 60 lbs per typical school day.
The compost will then be spread around the College's fields and be used as a form of fertilizer.
The college hopes to be a community leader through this effort and inspire business and corporations throughout our region to adopt similar initiatives.
We're proud to be a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. To further its mission of empowering higher education to lead the sustainability transformation, AASHE provides resources, professional development, and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model sustainability in all areas, from governance and operations to education and research.