Climate Commitment on Campus
In 2010, Harper College became a signatory school of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, now known as the Climate Leadership Commitments. The Climate Leadership Commitments engage colleges and universities across the US in reducing campus-wide greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2010 Harper has reduced net greenhouse gas emissions by 12.6%, and 15% of the campus's energy is now purchased from renewable sources. View Harper's Climate Action Plan, Greenhouse Gas Reports and Progress Reports on the Climate Leadership reporting website.
Our Steps Toward Climate Neutrality
Harper's Climate Action Plan (CAP) sets initiatives in motion to create an environmentally friendly campus focusing on efficiency projects, LEED Silver building standards and behavior changes. All this leads toward the ultimate goal of achieving emissions neutrality.
Water, Water Everywhere!
Harper is changing the way the campus is cleaned. Custodial closets around campus are being stripped of their harsh chemicals and being replaced with…water!
The new cleaning system being introduced to campus transforms ordinary tap water into a commercial cleaner by infusing it with ozone. Electricity is pumped through the unit and turns oxygen molecules to ozone. The ozone is infused into water creating a stabilized aqueous ozone solution. The final product is a safe, environmentally friendly and cost effective way to clean.
The aqueous ozone holds its form for 24 hours and is ready to attack germs. The product is attracted to germs, stains and bacteria and eliminates these contaminants on contact. After the cleaning and sanitizing process has been completed, the ozone turns back safely into oxygen and water.
Aqueous ozone contains no toxins, carcinogens or chemical residue. It can be used on any surface from mirrors to toilet bowls to carpets. It is much faster and stronger than bleach and chlorine-based cleaners and it requires minimal safety training. Harper currently has several systems in place in Avante, Building A and Building H, and is in the process of spreading the cleaning system to other areas of campus. The Building D renovation will be equipped with this new system, eliminating the need for harsh chemicals to be brought in.
Benefits of the Aqueous Ozone cleaning system:
- Staff and visitors are no longer exposed to harsh chemicals
- Non-irritant to respiratory and allergy problems
- Reduced waste: fewer bottles, containers and packing materials.
- Product safely turns back into oxygen and water with no chemicals going down the drain and into our waterways.
- Reduction of carbon footprint
- Decreases cleaning product purchases, transport, distribution, storage
- Reduces inventory of multiple chemicals
- All-in-one cleaning solution improves productivity
This new way of cleaning is being introduced to facilities around the county, including hospitals, universities and professional sporting venues. The health and environmental benefits from this new cleaning system makes this an exciting step forward for sustainability on our campus.
Going Green Nets Bronze
Harper College was recognized at the Illinois Governor's Sustainability Awards Ceremony as a Campus Sustainability Compact Bronze Award Winner for its commitment to creating a sustainability program and engaging the campus community.
The Illinois Campus Sustainability Compact outlines environmental goals that colleges and universities -- both public and private -- may adopt on their campuses. The Compact includes objectives such as purchasing renewable energy, implementing green building practices, developing sustainable transportation options, improving water conservation, and incorporating sustainable dining practices.
Photo (left to right): Eric Heineman, Senior Sustainability Advisor, Office of Governor Pat Quinn, Amy Bandman, Sustainability Coordinator, Elissa D'Amico, Campus Horticulturist and Kevin O’Brien, Director, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, October 23, 2014.