Archive for July, 2009

SPC earns $40,356 energy efficiency rebate

energyProgress Energy employees Laura Whitted, Account Executive, and Nancy Loehr, Account Executive for CIG (Commercial, Industrial, & Government), present an energy efficiency rebate check of $40,356 to St. Petersburg College during the July Board of Trustees meeting.

SPC President Carl M. Kuttler Jr. and BOT Chairman Deveron Gibbons received the check on behalf of the college as Jim Waechter, Director, Facilities Services, left, and Diana Wright, Energy Coordinator, look on.



July 31, 2009 at 7:11 am Leave a comment

“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” the title of 2009-10 One Book, One College program

animal_vegetable_miracleThe title for the fifth annual “One Book, One College: SPC Reads” program will be “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by renowned novelist Barbara Kingsolver. The book, chosen by a selection committee comprised of faculty, librarians and students from across the college, chronicles the family of the author’s year-long quest to eat only home-grown or locally-grown food.

“Abandoning the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life – vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it.  Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life, and diversified farms at the center of the American diet.” – from the publisher’s abstract.

With relevance for a broad spectrum of disciplines and programs, the committee felt that this title would offer myriad opportunities for educational programming and curricular activities throughout the college, and fit well with the college’s Wellness and Sustainability programs.

Look for discussions, activities and programs at all campuses throughout the year.  Anyone wishing to participate in planning the year’s events is invited to join the One Book One College Steering Committee that now is being formed.  Please contact Matthew Bodie (, Information Services Librarian, TS, for more information and to sign up.

Multiple copies of the book are available now in hard copy, e-audiobook format, and on DVD in the SPC Libraries.


July 29, 2009 at 7:15 am Leave a comment

Earthship volunteering, part 2

earthship4Volunteer at Florida’s first single-family residential Earthship Saturday, August 01, 2009!

If you missed SPC’s first trip to the Earthship on July 18, here’s your second chance to participate.

Manatee County will soon be the home to Florida’s first Earthship. The residential Earthship is designed to live in harmony with the environment and be entirely self sufficient. This ancient building construction technique remains entirely suitable for today’s resource-conscious and environmentally friendly building trend.

The structure uses recycled (tires and soda cans) and local materials (mainly dirt), generates its own electricity and processes its own waste and creates no negative environment impact. Using dirt as the main building material is the ultimate form of “green” building construction as it creates no environmental pollution and consumes virtually no energy.

Earthships are designed to catch water from the sky and use it up to four times and heat water from either the sun or by natural gas. Additionally, Earthships produce its own electricity, through solar and/or wind-generated energy. The created energy is stored in batteries and then supplied to electrical outlets. Earthships contain all household sewage (utilizing toilets flush with greywater) and reuse for food production in landscaping.

Plan to meet at the SPC Gibbs Campus parking lot behind the LEED Gold Student Services building at 8 am to carpool/caravan to site.

BRING plenty of water (2 gals. per person), sun block, insect repellent, wide brimmed hat and work gloves. The work is physical and although there is a canopy to provide shade in most work areas it is best to come prepared. Also, bring food to eat throughout the day.

Whether you plan to meet us at the site or at SPC to carpool, please RSVP to Kira Barrera ( so we have an idea of how many volunteers to expect!

See you there; it’s going to be a great experience!

Visit or email for more information or directions.


July 27, 2009 at 6:44 am Leave a comment

100% Organic, USDA Certified Organic, All Natural… What do they all mean?

usda-organicThe Larger Issue

  • If you don’t understand the definitions of each of the terms, you may not end up buying what you are looking for!

Be Part of the Solution

The USDA enforces proper organic production and categorizes the terms in the following manner:

  • Products with the “100% Organic” seal include products with 100% organically produced (raw and processed) ingredients.
  • Products with the “USDA Certified Organics” seal are made with 95% or more organic ingredients.
  • Products “Made with Organic Ingredients” means the product may include as little as 70% organic ingredients.
  • Products made with less than 70% organic ingredients may list the organic ingredients as being organic on the ingredient label.
  • Earth Friendly” products minimize any negative impact on the environment.  Examples include products that are biodegradable, chemical-free, or made of post-consumer recycled waste.
  • All Natural” products are minimally processed and contain no artificial colors, flavorings, preservatives or sweeteners.
  • Vegan” products are made solely from plants.
  • Vegetarian” products are derived from plants.  Examples include vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes and nuts.  Vegetarian foods may contain egg, honey or dairy products.

Additional Tips

  • Because of possible contamination from sprayed pesticides, buy organic fruit and vegetables when the skin of the produce is consumed.  In fact the following are the top 10 organic items you should buy:
  1. peaches
  2. apples
  3. bell peppers
  4. celery
  5. nectarines
  6. strawberries
  7. cherries
  8. lettuce
  9. grapes
  10. pears
  • Since onion, banana and orange peels protect the fruit from sprayed pesticides, buying these organic items isn’t as important.


July 24, 2009 at 7:12 am Leave a comment

Consider purchasing a tankless water heater!

tankless water heaterConventional water heaters require a great amount of time and energy to warm.  Tankless water heaters provide instant, unlimited access to hot water. In fact, when installed at each hot water faucet, tankless water heaters can be up to 40% more energy efficient than the conventional water heaters and run at 99% efficiency (while brand new conventional heaters are at 80%).

Tankless water heaters also called instantaneous, continuous flow, inline, flash, on-demand or instant-on water heaters have been gaining popularity in recent years.  Tankless water heaters do not retain any significant water because they instantly heat water as it flows through the unit.  Smaller tankless heaters are usually installed at each point-of-use, while one larger model may provide all the hot water for an entire house.  These heaters can be up to 40% more energy efficient than conventional water heaters.

Point-of-use tankless water heaters are installed where the water is being used, so the water is almost instantly hot (ultimately saving water since it is wasted after turning on a faucet while waiting for it to heat.  This is due to the fact that the cold water in the pipes between the faucet and the water heater needs to be flushed out first).  Additionally, no hot water is left in the pipes after the water is shut off.  This ultimately saves more water and energy than centrally installed tankless water heaters.

Historically, point-of-use water heaters were electric, typically more expensive and less efficient than gas.  A gas tankless water heater can cut approximately 30% of a homeowner’s energy usage.

Advantages of tankless water heaters:

  • Since water is heated only when needed, there is no hot water storage. With a tank, water is continuously kept hot even if it never gets used.
  • Although flow rate determines the amount of hot water generated at one time, an unlimited supply of hot water is available.
  • There is no stored water, so there is no risk of water damage from a leaking tank.
  • Most tankless water heaters can be mounted on a wall.

Disadvantages of tankless water heaters:

  • Installing a tankless system comes at an increased cost ($800 to $1,150 vs. $300 to $500 for conventional heaters), especially when installed in retro-fits.
  • Practical tankless water heaters are limited to gas and electricity.  This disqualifies renewable energy sources such as solar because of the storage tank requirement.
  • Tankless electric heaters, when installed in a large numbers of homes can create demand management problems for electrical utilities.  Because hot water use tends to peak at certain times of the day, they can cause short spikes in electricity demand.
  •     There is a short delay between the time the water begins to flow and when the heater activates the heating elements/gas burner.  Turning a hot water faucet on and off repeatedly can result in periods of hot water, then cold.
  • In a tankless water heater, the faster the flow, the less time the water spends being heated.
  • Tankless water heaters only heat water on demand; when installed far away from a faucet, the wait time for hot water increases.


July 22, 2009 at 6:41 am 2 comments

St. Petersburg College’s new Natural Science, Mathematics and College of Education building is certified LEED® Gold

clw bldg hi resSt. Petersburg College announced today that for the second time in as many months, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded LEED Gold certification for one of its new campus buildings.

The Natural Science, Mathematics and College of Education building on the Clearwater campus received the certification. The other LEED Gold building is the Student Services building on the St Petersburg/Gibbs campus.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Gold is its second highest designation.

Susan Reiter, SPC’s Vice President of Facilities Planning and Institutional Services, said the certification was issued July 1. She said the new building was designed by Flad Architects and built by W.G. Mills, Inc.

Both buildings opened in January. They were built to conform to the LEED Green Building Rating System™, a nationally accepted certifier of high performance and environmentally sensitive buildings.

“Environmentally friendly building operations provide nearly 40% of the solution to the climate change issue,” said Jason Green, SPC’s Sustainability Coordinator. “Even though climate change exists as part of a global challenge, we are attempting to address it locally through sustainable building design and other college-wide initiatives.”

Both buildings were designed to decrease pollution and negative impacts on the environment; decrease impact on local aquifers; decrease energy consumption; and increase the quality of indoor air and the indoor working environment.

The Natural Science, Mathematics and College of Education building includes “Green Cleaning” products. Reflective roofing and paving materials result in cooler surfaces. Fourteen preferred parking spaces are provided for fuel-efficient vehicles/carpools, and bicycle storage and shower/changing facilities are located within the building.

Composite wood products contain no added urea formaldehyde, and all adhesives, paints and carpets meet low volatile organic compound (VOC) standards. To ensure proper function and minimize energy loss through building exhaust, chemistry laboratory fume hoods were tested and commissioned. There is no smoking within 25 feet of any entry.

“Buildings are an example of how humans interact with our surroundings,” said James Pedicone, SPC’s Project Coordinator. “This new green building provides an example of how to have an immediate positive impact while also benefiting future generations of SPC students.”

Additional facts about the building:

  • 43 percent water savings achieved through low-flow fixtures, dual-flush toilets and waterless urinals.
  • At least 86 percent of all construction waste recycled. As a result, 3,147 tons of construction waste was diverted from landfill.
  • On a cost basis, more than 5 percent of the materials used in the building were salvaged, refurbished or reused; 21 percent contain recycled content; and at least 30 percent were extracted, harvested, recovered, and/or manufactured within 500 miles of the building.
  • 71 percent of wood-based materials and products were certified in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council’s Principles and Criteria.

“We can think of no better way to demonstrate our environmental commitment than through the LEED certified buildings we construct, and the existing buildings we renovate,” said Carl M. Kuttler, Jr., SPC President.


July 20, 2009 at 7:12 am 2 comments

Alternative fuel event coming to USF-St Petersburg, July 17-19, 2009

usfspFrom July 17-19, 2009 the HHO Games & Exposition Summer Games (named after the combination of pure hydrogen and oxygen being studied to help improve fuel economy in vehicles) will be at University of South Florida-St. Petersburg (140 7th Avenue South, St Petersburg, Florida 33701).

Hydrogen fueled vehicles produce no emissions and can save drivers 30-40 percent on gasoline or diesel fuel.

“This is our third event in less than a year.” said organizer Joe Shea, “This demonstrates the surging interest in alternative fuels that can help Americans get off the fossil-fuel treadmill that’s so costly at the pump and bad for the environment”.

The games have one key objective: to cross-pollinate the ideas, designs and inventions of HHO developers from all over the world.

The event allows vendors, scientists, and inventors from across the country to market their cutting edge ideas on how to end our dependence on fossil fuels by developing automobiles that operate in a far more sustainable way using hydrogen generating systems and hybrid conversions.

The theme for the event is “New Fuel For America!”

Tickets are $5.00 adults, children free.


July 17, 2009 at 7:08 am Leave a comment

Older Posts

who we are:

Early in 2008, St. Petersburg College recognized its responsibility to model to our students, employees and community ways to minimize global warming emissions and provide the knowledge to our graduates to help achieve a more environmentally friendly future. Because of this, the College made sustainability (defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs) a top priority. As a result, the Office for Sustainability was established.

what we do:

Working alongside internal and external partners, the Office for Sustainability focuses on the following areas of environmental stewardship: educational programs and corporate training, energy and natural resource conservation, green buildings and facilities, carbon emissions, recycling and student activities.

learn more:

To learn more about The Office for Sustainability at St. Petersburg College, contact Jason Green, Sustainability Coordinator at

sustainable | SPC