Renewable Energy & Sustainability
At WCTC, we are committed to energy efficiency and to using renewable energy. We incorporate energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability concepts in our classes. Our emphasis on sustainability makes us a good corporate citizen and helps our students prepare for jobs today and into the future.
Renewable Energy Systems at WCTC
We have installed a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Electrical Generation System at the Pewaukee Campus to provide electrical energy to the College and to be used for related instruction. The system is along the main road between the RTA Education Center and the Service building. It is an 11.52 kW system made up of four pole mounted solar arrays. Each array has 16 solar panels mounted to the poles. Two of the poles have arrays that are fixed - they always face south. The other two poles have tracking solar arrays that follow the sun like sunflowers. The tracking arrays begin facing east in the morning and track the sun as it moves to the west.
The WCTC Solar PV System is expected to produce about the amount of electrical energy used per year by between two and three average households. You may view electrical energy production and live data for the WCTC Solar PV System.
We have also installed a small Wind Turbine Electrical Generation System at the Pewaukee Campus which is located behind the electronics building. It is a 10 kW Bergey Excel-S Wind Turbine on a 95 foot high self-supporting, lattice tower. The Wind Turbine System is expected to produce about the amount of electrical energy used per year by one average household.
Sustainability may be defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It includes the creation and maintenance of conditions under which humans, the environment and nature can exist in harmony and fulfill the social, economic and business requirements of present and future generations without irreparable harm to the environment.
Sustainability in WCTC Operations
WCTC has been engaged in Sustainability for many years in both operations and instruction. The College has taken measures to improve energy efficiency in operations including lighting upgrades, installation of sensors in classrooms and offices to turn off lights when spaces are not occupied, and the College has made upgrades in HVAC - heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems. WCTC has made upgrades in boilers and chillers, and has made improvements in water consumption. All new facility projects are evaluated in terms of energy efficiency and the ability to use facility resources in related instructional programs.
WCTC recycles and also engages in composting of raw vegetables, fruit and coffee grounds in food service and program areas; the cleaning service uses green chemical products and all vacuum cleaners use HEPA-type filtration; green payroll results in reduced printing, paper and labor; and we reuse, resell or auction old equipment.
WCTC dining services sustainability items include: bulk purchasing, scratch cooking using less packaging, recycling of all cardboard, plastics, grease and oils, reusable trays and baskets for dining areas and catering, reusable bins, soda cases, milk crates and linens, and providing vegan and vegetarian options.
Sustainability in WCTC Instructional Programs
Sustainability concepts are introduced and reinforced in multiple WCTC instructional programs. Carpentry students learn about LEED construction techniques and practice them in their hands-on activities. Apprentices gain knowledge and experience working with electrical and mechanical systems that promote and maintain energy efficiency and transportation technology students learn about techniques to maintain proper operation of automobiles and about new technologies used in new vehicles, including hybrids.
Some specific examples of sustainability in instructional programs include:
- When analyzing buildings designed by architects, students look for sustainable practices in the design of the buildings.
- Students study the sustainable building concepts of LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design).
- Often, damaged vehicles are repaired with recycled auto parts thus saving fossil fuel and raw materials.
- Strategies are discussed on how to plan for mixing only the amount of paint products that are needed.
- Water-based cleaning products are used when applicable.
- Purchase of high quality tools to minimize replacement cost and raw material waste.
- Properly use, store, and maintain tools to increase the life of tools.
- Purchase locally to minimize transportation costs and consumption of fossil fuel.
- Select materials with recycled content when green alternatives exist.
- Use of engineered lumber manufactured from smaller-sized components or waste materials.
- Pre-planning before ordering material to minimize waste.
- Pre-planning before cutting to make best use of material.
- Reuse salvaged materials.
- Re-purpose materials that were used for temporary construction or training.
- Effectively layout floors, walls, and roofs to minimize waste.
- Stress quality workmanship to minimize air infiltration and moisture penetration.
- Selection of appropriate materials for specific uses to prolong the life of the structure.
- Proper installation of doors, windows, roofing, and siding.
- Use and proper installation of air-infiltration barriers (house wrap).
- Proper flashing techniques to minimize damage due to water penetration.
- Proper ventilation techniques to minimize damage due to mold and moisture.
- Proper insulation techniques.
- Building orientation to maximize solar gain.
- Electrician - Apprenticeship
- Design, building and wiring of Solar PV and Wind Turbine Electrical Generation Systems.
- Use of donated materials for the Injection Molding program.
- Regrind all plastic waste and reuse in future projects.
- Reuse donated mold bases for student projects and educational purposes.
- The steel "Stock Strip" that is left over after a student runs their project on the punch press is recycled.
- When students use the wire Electrical Discharge Machine to create die projects, the spent wire is collected and recycled.
- Use of donated scrap metal for student projects and as learning tools.