Energy consumption across Hinds Community College’s six locations has hit a milestone since a concerted effort to cut energy spending began in 2008.
In December 2015, Hinds surpassed the $10 million mark for energy savings, said Jason Pope, district director of Hinds’ Office of Sustainability. The mark reflects a 30.4 percent reduction in energy consumption and results directly from all employees and campuses.
“One of the main reasons that this program has worked is because of the unified efforts of everyone involved in helping reduce energy consumption,” Pope said. “It’s has been really neat watching the program evolve into what it is today.”
Savings since 2008 are equivalent to 167,791 passenger cars not driven for one year, Pope said. Of Hinds’ six locations, the Raymond Campus saved the most in raw dollars, at $4.9 million, while the Vicksburg-Warren Campus had the biggest percentage reduction in energy consumption, at 42.4 percent. Of individual buildings district-wide, Pope noted the Jimmy C. Smith Building on the Rankin Campus reduced its energy use by 52.3 percent.
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“We arrived at the $10 million mark by making sure things, such as office equipment, are turned off at the end of the workday,” Pope said. “Many people assumed that their computer or monitor really didn’t matter. However, the savings really adds up with the thousands of computers and peripherals throughout the district. We also target the HVAC systems to make sure they are operated as efficiently as possible.”
The Office of Sustainability began in 2013, as an outgrowth of Hinds’ initial energy savings program, and manages the college’s recycling program. Since then, initiatives in recycling paper and plastic have expanded to providing receptacles district-wide specifically for plastic, aluminum cans and other recyclables.
“We are always looking for new ways to conserve energy,” said Mindy Stevens, sustainability projects coordinator. “Right now, we are researching ways to make our vending machines for energy efficient, considering lighting changes, and working with outside vendors on several different projects.”
Proceeds from recycling efforts go to fund scholarships at Hinds. Student organizations at Hinds, such as the Honors Institute, has completed several service-hour projects through Sustainability, including an effort planned district-wide to increase the amount of white office paper recycled at the college through a shredding service. Also, Hinds students at the KLLM Driving Academy have trained for delivering large loads of material by driving rigs filled with cardboard to a facility in Meridian where it is recycled.