Oakton is going green!
- College’s biology and science students use the campuses as living laboratories. At Des Plaines, the forest preserve and lake offer many educational opportunities.
- Green Classes
- “Food Matters” service learning initiative
- Community gardens at both campuses
- Celebrate Earth Day each year with speakers, recycling campaigns for plastic bags, forest preserve and community garden clean ups, displays.
- Native Landscaping and Conservation Award from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Chicago Wilderness in 2010 – restoring 50 acres of woodland and reconstructing seven acres of grassland.
- Oakton received $49,155 from Commonwealth Edison for agreeing to reduce the College’s electricity use during summer “brown outs,” which put a heavy strain on the regional power grid.
- Created arboretum; planted hundreds of trees
- Adopt-a-tree program to enhance the arboretum around the lake
- Ecology Club
- Shift to on line billing in 2010 – eliminated 25,000 paper bills
- Recycled approximately 10,000 pounds of steel when replacing gym bleachers.
- Replaced drives and motors of HVAC equipment with more energy-efficient parts – Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development provided a $75,000 rebate.
- Solar panels on Des Plaines roof heat about 35 percent of building’s water – reducing electricity by 85,000 kilowats and saving $8,000 annually.
- Fluorescent bulbs replaced with CFLs; motion detectors and timers ensure that lights go off in empty rooms.
- Non-toxic cleaning products
- Green-certified paper products (toilet paper, paper towels)
- Nine air hand dryers at both campuses reduce paper towel use
- Use of organic fertilizers when possible.
- Building Together includes a “commitment to a green college”
- Ecology Club enhancements to Lake Oakton: floating platforms for turtles, fish houses at the bottom for fish to hide in, cocoa mats to cover the bank and prevent erosion.
- Campus Green Committee guides new initiatives
- Disposal boxes placed along the shore offer a safe place to discard fishing line, a potential choking or strangling hazard to local wildlife.
- Negotiated with food service vendor to eliminate packaged condiments and replace with large containers in an effort to reduce garbage.
Completed in 2010, Oakton’s community gardens – open to all students, employees, and district residents – are examples of small, sustainable agriculture and a place for learning and community. Each garden includes 15 4’ x 12’ plots, framed with a long-lasting wood substitute.
Garden produce goes home with volunteers or is donated to food pantries and community centers.