Portland Community College
Description/achievement of initiative

Portland Community College (PCC) completed its Climate Action Plan in 2009, consistent with our signing of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The college commits to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to below 2016 levels as follows: 10% below by 2012, 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

PCC’s Climate Action plan focuses on six major areas with actions to be taken by 2012 to put PCC on the pathway to meet its 2030 emission reduction objective. The six categories and 2030 objectives include:

Buildings and Energy -- Utilize state of the art control systems district-wide to maximize energy efficiency, reduce our energy consumption per square foot 50% below 2006 levels, and produce 20% of our own energy onsite using renewable energy technology. Actions to achieve these objectives include retrofitting controls in existing buildings on the Sylvania campus, bringing in an outside energy consultant to complete an energy audit for all campuses, monitoring energy consumption within the Sylvania campus via a web-based, real time data collection system as close to the point of use as possible, completing control retrofitting and sub-metering in all existing buildings district-wide, increasing awareness and outreach of energy use to decrease PCC staff and faculty consumption, requiring LEED standards and energy efficiencies in planning for new Bond construction (e.g., Willow Creek facility is LEED Platinum; Newberg Center Facility is Net Zero and LEED Platinum) , investing in software that will manage the powering down of the college's computer energy equipment, producing 20% of our own energy onsite using renewable energy technology, investing in a cogeneration plant at the Sylvania campus, installing a megawatt ground solar array installed at Rock Creek Campus, and heating the heat swimming pool water with fuel cells.

Transportation -- Develop and implement a commuter-specific climate action plan and create an emission free district fleet. PCC currently offers a free shuttle system to transport students, faculty and staff to all four campuses within the district, subsidizes student bus passes, and is creating a “bike to campus” campaign which includes low cost bicycle rental by the term. Further actions include creating a commuter-specific action plan, developing a methodology to purchase carbon offsets for all college air travel, conducting annual transportation surveys of PCC faculty, staff, students, and community members, researching different alternative fuel vehicle options to infuse into district fleet, creating a timeline and financing plan, in partnership with other departments, to attain emission free fleet, and beginning to infuse alternative vehicles into the district fleet by 2012.

Consumption and Solid Waste -- Develop a water conservation plan for all campuses, reduce solid waste generated by 50% by improving recycling, reusing and composting strategies, and reduce demand for waste hauling and reduce college resource utilization by adopting a sustainable purchasing policy. Actions include assessing current water consumption, compiling a baseline report, setting watt consumption reduction goals, developing a conservation plan, capturing storm water, integrating water efficiencies into bond planning, developing a plan for pre-consumer and post-consumer composting at all campuses, increasing outreach and awareness campaigns concerning recycling and composting efforts at all campuses in coordination with ASPCC, decreasing the amount of waste hauled to the landfill, developing and implementing a campaign to reduce demand for paper consumption, and crafting sustainable purchasing policy in compliance with Oregon Administrative Rules and Board policy.

Food and Agriculture -- Incorporate more sustainable food options district-wide and reduce carbon footprint related to service ware. Actions include making all dining centers district-wide able to accommodate local and sustainable food options, working with current vendors to incorporate more cost effective, sustainable and local food option offerings in cafeterias, exploring partnerships with local food providers, and/or local growers throughout the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area, developing curriculum for a transferable, academic program in Sustainable Agriculture, conducting a carbon audit of service-ware production and disposal cycle and creating a plan to reduce service-ware related carbon footprint by identifying and adopting cost-effective, local and sustainable options for service ware.

Sustainability in Education -- Increase sustainability infused curricula and green technology options at PCC. Actions include creating and convening a council composed of faculty and staff from diverse disciplines to serve as a clearing house for sustainability-related academic programs and curriculum, exploring teaching and assessment techniques to help achieve the college’s Community and Environmental Responsibility outcome for all graduates, expanding offerings of sustainability courses and integrating sustainability into the curricula throughout all disciplines, designing and implementing a Sustainability Focus Award, developing green technical degree certificates, including a Sustainable Agriculture program, and revising the college’s strategic plan to comply with Board Policy B707.

Community Outreach -- Increase sustainability awareness throughout the PCC community. Actions include providing educational resources to support community members to incorporate sustainability into their lives, organizing various college departments and offices to collaborate on ways to educate the public on sustainability, working with College Advancement to develop a plan to publicize PCC’s sustainability efforts, and working with the community to ensure access to quality green jobs (green job training programs as a pathway to a skilled workforce in a green economy.)


Portland Community College

Action Network
  • Higher Education Sustainability Initiative
Sylvia Kelley, Acting President, sylvia.kelley@pcc.edu

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Sylvia Kelley – Acting President
Copyright United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Part of the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform - sustainabledevelopment.un.org