Thursday, August 09, 2007

New Branch of St. Louis Community College Features Green Building Elements

Another crazy week... this time, it was the neighborhood's National Night Out celebration on Tuesday (where I was one of the grillmasters), and just plain fatigue last night: these 100 degree days just take it out of you... and finally, packing for a quick trip to go visit family in northern Wisconsin this weekend... where, hopefully, it's a little cooler.

Still, didn't want to let the week get totally away from me here, and I was really pleased to see that the newest branch of St. Louis Community College, in the outlying suburb of Wildwood, has incorporated numerous green building features. According to the Post-Dispatch, the new branch features four cisterns to collect rain water, green roofs, sunlight sensors that dim indoor lights, and even twenty parking space with outlets for plugging in electric vehicles. While campus administrators note that those outlets won't see a lot of immediate use, wiring is in place to add more outlets should the number of electric vehicles used by students or staff increase in the future. And, oh yes... there are waterless urinals (take it away, Bobby...). The campus' web site notes that the branch was built with LEED certification in mind.

I've never seen numbers related to the environmental impact of community colleges specifically. On one hand, they're campuses built for commuters; on the other, they're geared towards local communities -- the P-D article notes that most students to this branch will come from a 30-mile radius (it also notes that's about the driving range for most electric vehicles). While I'm not crazy about the amount of suburban sprawl still spreading out from the city, and think this is an overriding issue we have to confront as a region, I'm pleased to see that the community college district is making these kinds of investments in green technology. Now if we can just get a Metrolink line out there...

Image source: St. Louis Community College

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