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Greenfield Community College

GCC recognized by state for its energy leadership

Greenfield Community College was among 10 recipients of a “Leading by Example” award presented by the state Monday recognizing efforts to significantly reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, increased recycling, the use of renewable energy and other clean energy and environmental quality initiatives.

The awards, presented by state Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, honored state agencies, municipalities, public colleges and universities and two individuals for efforts that aim to achieve ambitious energy efficiency and renewable energy targets.

“We’re pleased and honored that this award recognizes the really good work of many people on the campus,” said GCC President Robert Pura, citing faculty, facility managers and program leaders who have been involved in the schoolwide effort.

The college earned its award for showcasing a comprehensive approach to reducing environmental impacts — including a recycling and composting program, a green campus committee, a geothermal system, three solar installations, a net zero energy greenhouse and a lighting retrofit.

GCC has also committed to training the next generation through four academic programs: renewable energy/energy efficiency; peace, justice and environmental studies; environmental science/natural resources; and farm and food systems.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has named Massachusetts number one in its annual state-by-state energy efficiency scorecard for two years running.

Among the other honorees was the town of Amherst, which used a 2012 Green Community grant to retrofit street lights, resulting in $48,000 in annual energy savings and a one-time maintenance savings of nearly $70,000. The town also has initiated a project to plant 2,000 trees over the next three years and approved a policy to disallow polystyrene products and containers in its municipal landfill.

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