Sharayah Goodwin
A Correspondent
          Tucked away on the eastern end of the North Parking Lot-6, the unimposing Plant Services building could be easily overlooked. Inside the building, Leo Mahoney, director of Physical Plant and Construction Management, has been hard at work finding ways to make the college’s main campus in Elyria more sustainable. During the five years that Mahoney has been at LCCC, numerous measures have been implemented by his office toward maintaining sustainability.

Mahoney is currently working with the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) to bring electric vehicle charging stations to the main campus. The charging stations will be funded by grants for installing charging stations at no cost to the college and to other parts of the country. Federal funds will be distributed by NOACA to fund the project, which is still up for public bidding.

This is great news for faculty and students who drive electric vehicles soon as the U.S. races toward the net-zero goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, according to

LCCC will receive two dual-port charging stations, providing charging availability to four electric vehicles simultaneously. These new charging stations would be installed in Lot 8 as soon as the Fall of 2023. At this time, no fee structure has been identified for the use of the stations.

         Current plans are to offer the use of them at no cost initially, pending a review of usage and cost to the school.

          Mahoney’s other recent project was an energy performance contract of $16 million. This contract brought about many of the recent changes on campus, saving a lot of energy and money. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about unique challenges as well as advantages during implementation. Empty buildings and classrooms allowed crews nearly easy access, and upgrades went quickly and smoothly. Some energy-saving measures included upgrading to LED lighting, low-flow toilet fixtures, and efficient HVAC systems. Electric consumption plummeted from approximately 2.3 million kWh to 1.5 million kWh. 

         Over two years following the implementation of these measures, LCCC saved over $1 million in energy costs, about 40% over the energy-saving guarantee of the contract. These numbers might further improve as more students return to campus. One reason for this is that the 28 buildings on campus rely heavily on body heat to maintain temperature during winter. Fewer students on campus translate to additional stress on HVAC systems and greater energy consumption. 

          LCCC has also been working on sustainable approaches to maintaining its buildings and grounds. 

          Four of the more recently constructed buildings on campus were awarded LEED Silver status (Leadership in Energy Efficient Design): Bass Library, Lab Sciences, and the Richard Desich SMART Commercialization Center (DEC and SMART). 

          The Plant Services does its construction cleanup, sorting materials for recycling. They also compost yard waste for use in other areas of campus and ceased cutting the grass to allow a meadow to grow, supporting plant and animal life. 

          There are several easy ways students can help with sustainability at LCCC. 

          It can be as simple as being conscientious, respecting school property so that it must be replaced less often, and by throwing garbage or recyclables into any of the 500-plus receptacles around the campus. 

          A new streamlined process for recycling has recently taken the guesswork out of recycling on campus. Recently, all receptacles on campus have been replaced with a single blue recycling bin. These new blue receptacles provide a single stream of recyclables that will be sorted off-campus.