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Where we're green

Here's a glimpse at all the places on Delta's campus that are engaged in sustainability. We think it's a pretty impressive list, but there's always room for more.

Have an idea? Let us know

Delta College

Energy Conservation

Energy efficient windows
  • Many windows along campus corridors and in classrooms are argon low-energy, which reflect short-wave heat energy to the interior in the winter and reflect 90 percent of long-wave energy to keep summer heat out.
  • Using natural light from windows also reduces lighting utility costs.
Heat recovery system
  • Heat Recovery systems in the Science Wing, Auto Service Center and the Fitness Center pool conserve energy by capturing discharged warm air through a coil system and reintroducing it back into the building.
Light and occupancy sensors
  • Light and occupancy sensors are installed in many classrooms, offices and corridors to ensure that lights are on only when they are needed.
  • In windowed corridors, photocell sensors record light levels to automatically shut off lights when incoming natural light meets minimum lighting levels.
LED lighting
  • LED lighting can be found in exterior lighting as well as in classrooms around campus. LEDs provide greater light for safety while using less energy.
  • Annually, using LED lighting equates to a 45 percent cost savings over traditional metal halide lamps.
Open office design
  • Open office design used through many of College's administrative areas requires less material to create space, eliminates fixed-wall construction materials and requires less lighting, VAV boxes, pipes and sprinkler heads.
Ride sharing
  • Ride sharing decreases impact and the number of vehicles on our roads, and the use of gasoline.
  • Find more information and get connected through the Campus Rideshare Program today!
Solar powered crosswalks
  • Solar powered crosswalk signals rely on renewable energy, operate for a month without sunlight, and continue to operate during power outages.
  • Automatic dimmers reduce night brightness and conserve solar power.
  • Installation requires no outside energy source, trenching or power drops.
STEM Explorer
  • Delta's STEM Explorer is a 38-foot customized vehicle outfitted with state of the art equipment for project-based learning.
  • Features include: residential solar, wind, and other alternative energy systems and Energy Star appliances.
  • The STEM Explorer travels throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region, bringing investigative learning directly to middle- and high-school students.
Vestibule entrances
  • A standard campus design at building entrances, vestibules create a secondary air space at doorways, reducing air inflow (warm air in winter and cool air in summer) while the primary door is open.
White roofing 
  • Many traditional dark roofs have been replaced with white roofs, which reflect summer heat and reduce cooling demand by 15 percent.
  • Unlike dark roofs, white roofs don't expand and contract with hot and cold or absorb as many UV rays.
  • Using white roofs reduces surface thermal shock, resulting in a longer lasting roof.

Landscaping & Grounds

  • Green areas around the building and parking lots help reduce building cooling loads in the summer, and improve indoor air quality.
Grounds management
  • Grass clippings are mulched into the soil to provide up to 25% of fertilization needs.
  • Grass clippings are composted for landscape bed humus.
  • Shrub and tree trimmings are ground to produce organic landscape material.
Peace poles
  • Students used reclaimed wood from old gym bleachers to construct peace poles. The poles were inscribed with the message, "May peace prevail on Earth" in six different languages – English, Japanese, Arabic, Spanish, Swahili, and ASL.
  • One pole resides in the campus courtyard as an enduring symbol of the College's global commitment.
  • Locally, poles were placed at Zilwaukee International School and Christa McAuliffe Middle School.
  • Globally, poles were shipped to our sister schools in Kenya – the Rift Valley Institute and Tracom College – and to sites in Japan and China.
Resource responsible farming
  • The college leases property to area farmers for crop production. Resource responsible farming is practiced by improving nitrogen use efficiency and reducing nitrogen fertilizer.
  • Farms exercise ‘minimal’ to ‘no tillage,’ leaving stalks and stubbles, and thereby reducing soil erosion and providing wildlife refuge.
Storm water management
  • Stormwater management mimics a natural hydrologic process where rainwater is conveyed from parking lot bioswale islands into detention ponds. Water flows into an adjacent wet meadow before discharge into the regional drainage system.
  • Native seed and aquatic plantings aid in attracting water habitat and creating a living laboratory for environmental study.
Trees and shrubs
  • More than 850 campus trees and 163 shrubs have been planted by Grounds Management in the last 10 years.
  • Trees are green machines that act as natural air filters by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen to help reduce CO2 emissions and our campus carbon footprint.
  • Greenery helps regulate local and regional rainfall.

Recycling & Re-use

 Recycling pods
  • Recycling pods throughout campus offer convenient opportunities for recycling mixed paper (paper, cardboard, magazines, newspaper, etc.) and beverage containers.
Food services
  • Potential waste, such as peelings, coffee grounds and egg shells are delivered to local community gardens to be used as compost.
  • Napkins used in the cafeteria are unbleached, dioxin-free and made from post-consumer recycled content.
  • Drink containers are corn-based and biodegradable. 
Green-seal-approved toilet tissue
  • Restrooms are stocked with 100 percent recycled content, Green Seal-approved toilet tissue.
Junk mail recycling
  • Our Return to Sender campaign has recycled hundreds of pounds of campus junk mail.
Metal recycling
  • Delta College facilities and skilled trades programs send their metal scrap to local metal-processing companies in the form of furniture salvage, fleet license plates, aluminum, iron, copper wire and cast metals.
Recycled construction materials
  • Construction materials are reclaimed and reused during renovations, diverting 90 percent of construction debris from landfills – a benefit to the environment and the economics of a project.
  • Concrete and brick are crushed and asphalt ground as a base for driveways and parking lots.
  • Copper, steel and aluminum are melted for reuse.
Recycled gym bleachers
  • Nearly 21,000 pounds of recovered wood was reused when gym bleachers were replaced in the Pioneer Gym. The wood was made available to construction classes for projects including commemorative plaques, awards and courtyard Peace Poles.
  • The remaining wood was removed by the contractor and used to make window trims.

Sustainable Materials

Bamboo corridor benches
  • Corridor benches in the Health Professions Building and between A and S-wings are constructed of bamboo, a rapidly-renewable building material that requires less energy to harvest and produce than traditional lumber products.
FSC certified print services
  • Printing Services earned Chain-of-Custody Certification from the Forest Stewardship Council making Delta, to date, the only college-owned and operated FSC Michigan printer.
  • Vegetable-based inks are available, which require only a small amount of energy to be produced and are more easily removed, helping to retain the integrity of the paper fiber.
Retro plate flooring
  • Retro plate, a sustainable, highly abrasive and dust resistant flooring is used in campus maintenance shops and corridors.
  • Retro plate eliminates the need for top sealers, replacement flooring, stripping or waxing, moisture vapor problems and cleans with water.
Road construction
  • The top layer of former roads were pulverized and reused as the bottom layer in the construction of campus roads, eliminating the purchase of a traditional crushed limestone base.
  • Labor and energy were saved recycling the layer on site.
  • Top layers were replaced with 15 percent reclaimed asphalt from other project sites, saving the College thousands of dollars.
  • An estimated 2,000 tons of debris materials were diverted from land-fills.
  • Asphalt roads are 100 percent recyclable, have a long lifespan, conserve mineral resources from being mined, diminish traffic noise and reduce surface spray in wet conditions.
Restored seating
  • Restored seating in the Lecture Theater extended the life of the theatre chairs and lounge seating.
  • Furniture restoration is an excellent way to preserve original design and practice environmental stewardship.
Softball field
  • Crushed organic red clay brick provides the ground application for the softball field and warning track.
Snow diversion
  • By taking advantage of the road contour, salt is applied only along the center line of icy roads, rather than the entire surface. As traffic passes, it moves the salt off the center line, melts and dissolves it into a liquid brine, which drains across the entire road toward the shoulders.
  • Snow windrows are created to diminish the amount of snow blowing across entrance drives. Windrows generate negative air pressure, forcing snow to accumulate behind the snow block. Both of the above methods reduce salt application, which can adversely affect aquatic ecosystems and roadside vegetation.

Water Conservation

Chilled water system
  • The chilled water system produces solid ice during the night when campus electrical needs are minimal. This stored ice cools the building the following day, which significantly lowers operating and energy costs.
Green cleaning
  • Green cleaning aims to protect our health without harming the environment, while maintaining the same quality performance as traditional chemical-intensive methods.
  • Cleaning green benefits include improved air quality, recyclable packaging, decreased water use and the elimination of hazardous disposal costs. Delta College was honored with the Green Cleaning Award by American Schools and Universities, making it the first community college recipient in the nation.
Low flow water fixtures
  • Low flow shower heads in the Fitness & Recreation Center, and low flow water fixtures and self flush toilets throughout campus, help conserve water.
PCF paper copy machines
  • Coin-operated copiers use PCF (processed-chlorine free) paper that is processed with hydrogen peroxide and oxygen, rather than chlorine bleaching.
  • In comparison, chlorine bleaching uses great amounts of water and produces toxins like dioxin, which may enter waterways, even in places far from the paper mill.