RCCD Hires Firm to Develop a Sustainability and Climate Action Plan

Aug 06
RCCD District Office

In June, Riverside Community College District selected DLR Group to provide a comprehensive sustainability and climate action plan for the District.

In 2011, the RCCD Board of Trustees adopted Board Policy 5775 - Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility which states, in part, “Riverside Community College District’s intent is to create a set of operating principles and guidelines in the execution of its responsibilities to facilities design and operation; campus management…thereby minimizing negative environmental impacts of activities under its control and oversight.”

A year later, California voters passed Proposition 39 (California Clean Energy Jobs Act). The Act provided funding for energy project implementation in the California Community College system. RCCD leveraged $4,484,854 from the state, plus an additional $228,943 from a local fund, for energy efficiencies projects at Moreno Valley College, Norco College and Riverside City College. Doing so has resulted in a reduction in energy consumption districtwide by 2,408,756 kW/h annually.​

“Riverside Community College District recognizes its responsibility to exercise environmental​ stewardship and to economically manage the use of buildings, land and natural resources within the District,” Wolde-Ab Isaac, chancellor of RCCD, said. 

RCCD and its colleges have built six buildings that have met the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) project certification. Each of the projects was funded through Measure C, a voter approved measure that financed much-needed projects to accommodate the District’s growing student population. Five of the six projects earned LEED Silver Certification. LEED is the world’s largest rating system for design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

“It is the intent of the District to create a set of operating principles and guidelines in the execution of its responsibilities to facilities’ design and operation; campus management; and teaching and learning, thereby minimizing negative environmental impacts of activities under its control and oversight,” Aaron Brown, vice chancellor of Business & Financial Services, said. 

RCCD will use components identified within California Community College’s Sustainability Plan Guidelines and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education to further develop its Sustainability and Environmental Plan.

“The plan will be developed with an eye toward supplementing and supporting the District and colleges’ comprehensive master plans with recommendations and prioritized programs for a holistic approach to climate action, sustainability, and resiliency planning efforts in order to develop road maps to help the District reach zero net carbon and zero net energy. The plan will be developed by engaging the campuses student, faculty and staff,” Hussain Agah, associate vice chancellor of Facilities Planning & Development, said.

The study will look at a variety of areas across the District, including greenhouse gas emissions, campus planning, facilities and landscape maintenance, green building standards, energy and infrastructure, residence life and food services, transportation, and waste management.

“It is the District’s vision to address environmental and ecological health, and include human health and well-being, equity and social justice, and economic integrity,” Isaac said. “In order to live sustainability and take an active and leadership role as a higher education institution, it is imperative that we respond to evolving environmental and climate change issues happening around us and address social and fiscal matters impacting the communities we serve.”

DLR Group is an integrated design firm that provides architecture, engineering, planning, and interior design from offices around the globe.