CLC just one of five colleges to receive Green Ribbon from U.S. Dept. of Education
The College of Lake County was one of just five colleges in the country to be honored with a Green Ribbon by the U.S. Department of Education, federal officials announced Wednesday.
Only 39 schools, 11 school districts and five postsecondary institutions were honored for their efforts in reducing their impact on the environment, improving health and wellness and offering effective sustainability eduction.
David Husemoller, CLC's sustainability manager, said it was a huge honor to receive the award.
"It is a tough one to apply for and even tougher to win," Husemoller said. "They choose so few schools for this and it is nice to be an example other schools can learn from."
Husemoller said one factor he believes impressed the Department of Education was the college's Science Building, which opened for use in January 2018 and houses many of the college's laboratory science programs as well as engineering classes.
The building has already received a slew of awards and honors. Last year the building was given a platinum rating under the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certification system and scored higher than any other newly constructed building in Illinois.
Among the building's most important green features are the geothermal wells. Massive pumps on the building's fourth floor draw groundwater from deep wells into pipes. The water is always around 55 degrees, helping warm the building in the winter and cool it during the summer.
The building's roof has 187 solar panels on one section, and a 1,500-square-foot green roof that captures rainwater runoff on another. The rainwater is used in the building's toilets.
Husemoller said Department of Education judges were also impressed by the college's Living Lab Trail. The trail winds inside and outside the Grayslake campus and features signs explaining environmental features as well as how local efforts can help address global challenges.
"You can learn while you walk the trail and feel better, work better, get fresh air and appreciate nature," Husemoller said.
Husemoller said he and other staff members have been invited to Washington, D.C., to receive the award in August. Just one other Illinois school -- Joseph Sears School in Kenilworth -- earned a Green Ribbon.
The Science Building's environmentally friendly design has helped earned the college other green awards over the years, including the Emerald Award for Building Innovation from the Illinois chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council in 2018. In 2017, CLC earned a "silver" rating from the Association for the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education. And in 2016, CLC won the American Association of Community Colleges Green Genome Award, a national award for sustainability.