Central Community College campuses reduce carbon emissions by 40%

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Since 2013, Central Community College has reduced their carbon emissions by nearly 40%. The campuses release about 19,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, down from 31,000 when they began their study that same year.

After long-term efforts, the CCC campuses have become more sustainable and use more renewable energy sources. (KSNB)

“We have a goal by 2024 for all of our campuses to be carbon neutral,” Environmental Sustainability Director Ben Newton said. “So all the electricity use on the Hastings, which is already carbon neutral, the Grand Island campus, and Columbus campus.”

They began with small projects to get the campuses on the path to sustainability with things like LED lights in classrooms and changing their campus vehicles to hybrids. There are now 29 courses framed around sustainability and instructors say students have a great interest in them.

“I think it opens their eyes. with my solar students it allows them to see 'ok I can build a house and have it off the grid',” Energy Technology Instructor Taylor Schneider said. “I can produce my own power and be sustainable by myself.”

The Hastings campus is completely powered by the wind turbine and the Kearney campus is powered by the community solar farm.

“Our energy use is down which then we can support other programs with that increased funding that we have for other programs based on our efficiency and sustainability efforts on campus,” Newton said.

Instructors said wind and solar energy are growing in Nebraska and it will continue to be a productive source of energy and jobs for their students.