Committee talks tracking carbon emissions, impact

Environmental studies student launches efforts

By Lorenzo Morotti, Editor-in-chief

Environmental studies major Aaron Garcia is working toward documenting the amount of carbon Contra Costa College emits yearly using calculation programs online.

Garcia brought the Sustainability Committee (SC) up to date with his project by sharing how much the Building and Grounds service vehicles are used and examining campus utility bills during its most recent meeting on Feb. 5.

In his CCC carbon emission report, spanning from March 2013 until March 2014, it states that the vehicles use 19,338 pounds of carbon dioxide, while the campus produces 1,809,500 pounds annually.

He said in order to reverse the effects of this on the environment, CCC would have to sequester 21,091 seedlings and grow them for 10 years.

“(CCC) needs to get energy from a source that does not use coal to power gas and electricity,” he said. “If we can harvest more energy from the solar panels on campus, it will be a long term investment and set an example for our area.”

While he works in the Welcome/Transfer Center as an office assistant, he plans to continue coordinating with Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King to obtain more information and bring the college into compliance with state legislation.

In Executive Order B-18-12, Gov. Jerry Brown directed all agencies, departments, and other state entities to reduce their energy purchases from the grid by 20 percent by 2018.

King said projects like Garcia’s, and other environmentally conscience efforts by the SC, are needed to reduce the carbon footprint on campus by establishing a carbon baseline.

Garcia said in order for CCC to reduce its environmental impact it needs to find the period of time during the year that the college produces the least amount of carbon emissions.

He said this could reduce the campus energy usage by 50 percent.

He said he modeled the project after the Cal State-East Bay 2006 Carbon Report, written by Environmental Studies Program Director Karina Garbesi.

Garbesi said gathering the support from faculty and staff was what delayed her compilation of the report.

“You need to have the faculty and students wanting to make a change,” she said. “Organizing these groups can be difficult, but can be very exciting.”

King, however, said he is willing to help Garcia by providing him with any information he needs.

The Sustainability Committee is a subcommittee to the Operations Council which addresses issues that pertain to college operations, its services and recommends solutions.

The SC meets every first Thursday of the month at 7 a.m. in the Buildings and Grounds conference room.