Vol State Adds Solar Power and Electric Vehicle Charging
Environmental changes at Volunteer State Community College are happening one step at a time. The latest additions are solar panels connected to the college Wood Campus Center. The four panels can produce 1,124 kilowatt hours of electricity a year. The panels cost $6,686. The Vol State Sustainability Committee led the effort. It’s a group of students, faculty and staff who meet to consider new projects utilizing the campus sustainability fee. "We just approved a request for up to ten hydration stations for the other campuses and for Gallatin campus buildings that don't have one yet," said committee chair and associate professor for Geography, Keith Bell. Those filtered water hydration stations encourage the re-use of drinking containers. Plastic water bottles are considered to be one of the biggest challenges to waste disposal, as use has soared in recent years. Water industry consultant R.W. Beck, Inc. estimates that 40 million water bottles are put into landfills each day. The Vol State Sustainability Committee has also installed energy-efficient LED lighting in the Fox building on the Gallatin campus and in Springfield, at the Highland Crest campus. Another environmental measure for the college was taking resource efficiency steps for the new Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building to be LEED Certified. Part of that project is an electric vehicle charging station near the Thigpen Library. There are two power cords available for recharging electric cars. Committee members say future possibilities for campus include solar umbrellas that would provide cell phone and laptop charging stations for students working outside at picnic tables. Pictured: Vol State Sustainability Committee members in front of the new solar panels. Left to right: Le-Ellen Dayhuff, Lori Miller, Keith Bell, Brittany Gray and Will Newman.