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Green Cerritos Campus Sustainability Initiatives

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Cerritos College is an environmental leader. The District is dedicated to adhering to sustainability practices and policies that conserve the planet’s diminishing natural resources. The District is creating a campus environment that fosters sustainability through conscious decision-making strategies, focusing on:

  • Green facilities that meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards
  • Energy efficiency improvement programs
  • Waste management
  • Water conservation
  • Instructional programs
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions


Green Campus Policies

  • November 17, 2021 - The Board of Trustees adopted a Break Free From Plastic resolution, making the campus the first community college in California to adopt a policy to abandon the use of plastic products. The effort was led by student leaders, and the campus is in the process to create an action plan to implement the policy.

  • The California Community Colleges/Investor Owned Utilities (CCC/IOU) partnership selected Cerritos College for a pilot study to pursue a complete building energy study/retrofit called a High Opportunity Project (HOP). Currently, Cerritos College is the only community college selected for this pilot study, joining University of California and California State University pilot projects.

  • June 1, 2016 - The Board of Trustees approved the Cerritos College Sustainability Plan, a holistic, site-specific guide to promoting sustainability on the campus. The plan will ensure that the College meets the ever-changing educational and facilities needs of its students and community, and expand the learning environment to support student success and completion.

  • September 16, 2015 - The Board of Trustees approved a long-term Integrated Energy Master Plan (IEMP) that complements the Facility Master Plan. The IEMP is a comprehensive strategic plan that identifies various energy related projects and methodologies to be employed by the College in support of the campus building and modernization program.

  • The campus established a Sustainability Task Force to develop and implement a campus sustainability plan, establish goals, and track progress.

  • September 17, 2014 - The Board of Trustees adopted Resolution No. 14-05 Declaring Design and Development of Facilities to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified for new buildings in excess of $5 million. LEED certification is set by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Health & Wellness Complex, completed in 2020, is the first LEED-certified building at Cerritos College. The Performing Arts Center, completed in 2022, is the second LEED-certified building. The Health Science Renovation project, which is currently out to bid, will be the third LEED Certified project for the College. Construction is anticipated to begin in late fall 2022 and complete in late 2024.

  • June 18, 2014 - The Board of Trustees adopted Board Policy 3580. The campus-wide sustainability policy is focused on developing practices that promote conservation and energy efficiency.

  • June 4, 2014 - The Board adopted Resolution No. 14-14 to authorize the creation of a Cerritos College CalRecycle Program. Income generated from the student-led recycle program will go to support the Associated Students of Cerritos College.

  • May 5, 2014 - Associated Students of Cerritos College adopted a sustainability policy to develop students into global citizens through the knowledge, skills and values of sustainability concepts.


Energy Conservation Measures

  • The College received the California Community Colleges Board of Governors 2017 Energy and Sustainability Award for its Science Building retro-commissioning project that is saving the campus $25,000 in energy costs annually.

  • Cerritos College has received over $895,000 in utility incentives from 2006-2015, significantly reducing electricity and natural gas consumption.

  • Cerritos College has secured over $1.5 million in state funding from Governor Brown’s 2012 Green Jobs Initiative. These funds have allowed the College to retrofit lights to LEDs, fine tune building mechanical systems, and reduce electrical consumption by over 1 million kilowatts (equivalent to the annual electrical use of 166 average households). The College’s natural gas use has also been reduced by 38,000 therms, which is equal to 70 average households' natural gas use for one year, saving the College more than $200,000 annually.

  • The College will use the Green Jobs Initiative funding to retrofit campus lighting, expand chilled water cooling systems, and enhance energy management.


Water Conservation

In the midst of California’s historic drought, Cerritos College is taking steps to reduce its water use:

  • In 2016, the College redeveloped the landscaping along Alondra and Studebaker with drought-resistant and low-water use plants. Potable water systems were replaced with the College’s reclaimed water irrigation system. This project, totaling nearly one acre of land, was supported with over $500,000 in state grant funds.

  • To reduce water, the College features a variety of drought-resistant plants in its landscape, including California native species such as live oak trees, echervia, euphorbia, aloes and hesperia.

  • Over 95 percent of the campus landscape and athletic fields are irrigated with re-claimed water purchased from a local municipality provider. 

  • The College was recognized with the 2014 Green Community College Leadership Award for this resource conservation measure. By using re-claimed water for landscape irrigation, Cerritos College saves more than 30 million gallons of potable water per year. This is equivalent to saving the same amount of water that 185 families of four would use for one year.


Green Education

  • Cerritos College’s Automotive Collision Repair Program was one of five recipients of the Collison Repair Education Foundation’s 2014 Sustainability Challenge Grant. The $5,000 grant provided resources to assist school collision repair shops with ways to create a more sustainable campus community. The program continues to implement the challenge grant by greening its operations, including recycling and reinventing processes that reduce carbon emissions.

  • The College’s Automotive Technology General Motors ASEP program has embedded technical training in hybrid and electric vehicle technology.

  • Cerritos College’s Advanced Transportation and Logistics Center (ATL) offers training to the automobile industry on alternative fueled vehicles (electric vehicles, compressed natural gas, and hybrid vehicles) through a $150,000 grant awarded to the College by the California Energy Commission.

  • The ATL received $3.5 million in grants from the California Energy Commission to develop clean fuel training programs for high schools in underserved communities, regions impacted by poor air quality, and those serving minority populations. The Zero-Emission Vehicle Training Enhancement Program has funded 28 high schools, served approximately 1,800 students each year and trained 36 high school and community college faculty members for the new electric vehicle curriculum.

  • The Architecture Technology Program offers a green architecture class to our students by introducing them to sustainable architecture and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Exercises emphasize the development of basic skills used in the design of environmentally friendly architectural projects. Focus is on the investigation of the relationship between planetary concerns, energy, indoor air, quality, site selection, building orientation, and alternative construction techniques.

  • Cerritos College is a training provider through the California Advanced Lighting Control Training Program. The statewide initiative aims to increase the use of lighting controls in facilities through education.


Greenhouse Gas Reductions

  • In April 2014, Cerritos College installed eight Electric Vehicle Charging (EVC) stations for public use. For $0.32 cents per kilowatt hour, electric vehicle owners can charge their vehicles at the College. Through electric vehicle charging, the College has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 11,254 kilograms, which equals the reduction of carbon monoxide released into the atmosphere created by 12,009 pounds of burned coal. The Electric Vehicle Charging stations were partially funded by the South Coast Air Quality Management District that provided an $8,000 rebate upon successful implementation of the units for public use.

  • The campus currently has 10 EV charging stations for public use, and the renovation of the Health Science building will add an additional four stations after its renovation is completed in 2024. This will reduce the College’s greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 10,000 kilograms or more. 

  • The Associated Students of Cerritos College established a campus recycling program in 2013. Students collect, transport and sort recyclables and use the funds to support student activities on campus.

  • The campus currently recycles cardboard, green, and food waste. The total savings to the environment is priceless. 

  • The College has over 70 bottle filling stations at various locations throughout campus that allow users to use refillable bottles with fresh drinking water, thus reducing the number of plastic bottles from landfills. These stations have eliminated the use of over 1,300,000 plastic bottles.

Central Plant

  • Central Plant will be replacing filter media (tower fill). Performing this replacement will add to the College’s ability to keep cool in the summer. Replacing this material will take place early this fall so we can keep our campus cool for the next seven to 10 years.
  • The College's swimming pools are heated through solar blankets that warm the water when the pool is not in use through a heat exchanger with the central plant. The condenser water heat is essentially a free byproduct of mechanical cooling, which reduces the need for gas heating. As a result, there is a reduction in use of natural gas of approximately 17,000 therms per year, or an annual savings of $14,450.

  • The swimming pool will be adding new storage for water treatment. This storage system contains the latest technology and adds fluids based on temperature and atmospheric demand. This system will save approximately $5,000 dollars per year and reduce labor by half by conditioning the water automatically.


Solar on Campus

  • The College has expanded the use of stand-alone solar devices on campus. All parking permit dispensers are now solar-powered, and two solar-powered electronic device charging stations have been installed. These solar changing stations allow for multiple phones or other device to be charged using sun power.

  • The College has entered into an agreement to install solar panels on campus. This project will provide enough electrical capacity to run over 80% of the campus. This effort will also save over 7 million kilowatts per year.

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