Sustainability Committee at Grays Harbor College Rotating Header Image

2010 – 2011

January 23rd & 30th Tip of the Week

Hello Campus Community,


We have two sustainability tips for you since we missed last week!  The January 23rd tip of the week on “winter energy savings ideas” is brought to you by Cal Erwin-Svoboda.The January 30th tip of the week on “40 easy ways to go greener at home-besides recycling” is brought to you by Gary Hay. Thank you both Cal and Gary for the tips!


January 23rd Sustainability Tip of the Week: By Cal Erwin-Svoboda

Winter Energy Saving Tips

Winter months mean a spike in utility bills. There are tons of cost effective ways to prep your house/apartment for the winter months. Implementing a few of these tips might help lower your monthly utility bills. Winter Energy Saving Tips (via PNM Resources, New Mexico)


My Secret Tip To Winter Energy Savings

You can easily ‘section off’ portions of your house/apartment that you don’t want to heat by mounting a curtain rod over a doorway and using a heavy panel of curtain to create a barrier to keep the heat only where you need it. This can also be achieved by shutting doors to bedrooms, bathrooms, etc that you do not need to heat.

January 30th Sustainability Tip of the Week: By Gary Hay

40 Easy Ways to Go Greener at Home – Besides Recycling

1.  Plant an herb garden.  It’s good to have a reminder around of where our food originates.

2.  Switch all your lightbulbs to CFLs (or at least switch a few).

3.  Create a homemade compost bin for $15.

4.  Switch one appliance to an energy efficient model (look for the “energy star” label).

5.  Stop using disposable bags – order some reusable bags, or make your own.  My favorites are Envirosax and Flip & Tumble.

6.  Buy an inexpensive reusable water bottle, and stop buying plastic disposable bottles.  Then watch The Story of Bottled Water, a short movie about the bottled water phenomena.

7.  Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot.

8.  Turn off lights when you leave the room.

9.  Don’t turn on lights at all for as long as you can — open your curtains and enjoy natural light.

10.  Drive the speed limit, and combine all your errands for the week in one trip.

11.  Better yet, walk or ride a bike to your errands that are two miles or closer.

12.  Support your local economy and shop at your farmer’s market.

13.  Turn off your computer completely at night.

14.  Research whether you can sign up for green power from your utility company.

15.  Pay as many bills as possible online.

16.  Put a stop to unsolicited mail — sign up to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers.  While you’re at it, go ahead and make sure you’re on the “do not call” list, just to make your life more peaceful.

17.  Reuse scrap paper.  Print on two sides, or let your kids color on the back side of used paper.

18.  Conduct a quick energy audit of your home.

19.  Subscribe to good eco-friendly blogs.  My favorites are The Daily Green,TreeHugger, and Keeper of the Home.  Of course, you gotta subscribe to Simple Organic.

20.  Before buying anything new, first check your local Craigslist or Freecycle.

21.  Support local restaurants that use food derived less than 100 miles away, and learn more about the benefits of eating locally.

22.  Fix leaky faucets.

23.  Make your own household cleaners.  I’ve got quite a few recipes in my e-book.

24.  Line dry your laundry.

25.  Watch The Story of Stuff with your kids, and talk about the impact your household trash has on our landfills.

26.  Learn with your kids about another country or culture, expanding your knowledge to other sides of the world.

28.  Lower the temperature on your hot water heater.

29.  Unplug unused chargers and appliances.

30.  Repurpose something – turn one of your well-worn t-shirts into basic play pants for your baby.  Or save egg cartons for paint wells, seed starters, treasure boxes, or a myriad of other crafts.

31.  Collect rainwater, and use it to water your houseplants and garden.

32.  Switch to cloth diapers – or at least do a combination with disposables.

33.  Switch to shade-grown coffee with the “Fair Trade” label.

34.  Use a Diva Cup for your monthly cycles.

35.  Use cloth instead of paper to clean your kitchen. Be frugal, and make these rags out of old towels and t-shirts.

36.  Use cloth napkins daily instead of paper.

37.  Read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and open your eyes to the way conventional food is processed. Watch Food, Inc. while you’re at it.

38.  Repurpose glass jars as leftover containers and bulk storage, especially in the kitchen.

39.  Five-minute showers – make it a goal for yourself.

40.  Donate to – and shop at – thrift stores such as Goodwill.  You’ll be recycling perfectly usable items, and you’ll be supporting your local economy.

January 2010 Minutes




Monday –January 10, 2011 – 3:00PM

Choker Dining Room

1.      Attendance – Welcome to Guests

o   Lorena Marchant, Janelle Spaulding, Tom Kuester, Lynn Sidenstrang, Kim Jones, Laura Ratcliff, Jayme Peterson, Kelly Toda, Adrienne Roushe

2.      Opportunity for opening comment(s)

o   The wellness committee is having a walking challenge and we should encourage people to walk on our trails.

3.      Department Report: Cancelled

o   Next month: Instruction

4.      Monthly meetings

o   February Meeting Date: Monday the 14th from 3-4, Jessica will reserve a room

5.      Sustainability Action Team

o   We’re slow getting started on this. I do have information on our sub-committees. (See addendum)

o   Sustainability Action Plan

o   Jessica will email the executive summary and the summary/recommendations out to the committee.

6.      Service Learning: There will be a conference at the end of April in San Diego, there may be an opportunity for interested people to go to that.

7.      Washington Campus Compact Field Trip (Tentative, February 4th)

o   South Puget Sound Community College

§  Attendees: Jayme Peterson, Lorena Marchant, Kim Jones, Jessica James

8.      Sustainability Tip of the Week Sign Up

9.      New business

10.  Closing Comments

o   Ford unveiled a fully electric car.

11.  Adjourn 4:45

November 2010 Minutes




Monday – December 6th, 2010 – 3:00PM

Choker Dining Room

1.      Attendance – Welcome to Guests

o   Lorena Marchant, Jessica James, Kim Jones, Tom Kuester, Lynn Sidenstrang, Julie Nelson, Laura Ratcliff, Jamie Peterson, Kelly Toda, Teresa Bravenec, Heidi Bornhoff, Craig Miller, Janel Spaulding

2.      Opportunity for opening comment(s)

o   If you are new there has only been one meeting this year that you have missed.

o   Craig Miller- I want to thank you Lorena for all your effort. The new childcare center will be doing a recycling effort and they were looking for a new container for that. We should look into that. Lorena will follow up with Tracy in the childcare center.

3.      Department Report: Campus operations

o   Lorena- before you get started I wanted to let you know that we will be putting up some posters with information about what your department is doing.

o   Craig-

§  When we expanded our lower parking lot we did it very cheaply with recycled concrete from the 600 building.

§  We recycle all our fluorescent tubes.

§  We recycle in all building using the blue tubs.

§  We use all green chemicals here on campus and are expanding to our satellite campuses.

o   Lorena- we try to use all of the same materials (paper towels, etc…) to reduce shipping and packaging.

o   Craig- Mindy in receiving recycles all of her packaging.

§  We recycle all of our toner cartridges and earned two new printers ($3000) with the points for recycling

§  The glue-lamb beams in the childcare center are recycled as well as extra decking from the 2000 building. We saved thousands.

§  All of the furniture from the 600 building was sent to local schools to use rather than being thrown away.

§  The childcare center was the first building in GH County to receive the Gold Leed Award. The award will be mounted in the new building. We were required to meet at least Leed Silver but we were able to get the gold. The building site for the childcare center gave us points because we used a parking lot and didn’t have to cut down any trees. The heating systems recycle energy. At least 32% of the materials used needed to be within 500 miles of Aberdeen. Low flow toilets were used. Landscaping was environmentally friendly. Over 50% of the waste had to be recycled and they had several different dumpsters and had to keep track of it.

§  Roglins stored the beams for us until we decided to use them and then the sea port took them until we needed them for building. It saved us $$ on storage costs.

§  Some of the metal fitting from the 600 building were refurbished for sailing vessels.

§  The shipyard took parts of the extra glulam beams and made furniture.

§  Lorena- has there been any publicity for the Gold Leed Award

§  Craig- We do everything possible to maintain our “small waste generator” status.

  • We went through all the buildings and figured out what was going to give us the biggest payback and running natural gas instead of propane to the new A&W building will save a lot in energy costs so we received a big grant for that.

§  Lorena- Will that savings be an energy savings or a cost savings?

  • Craig- They say it’s more efficient but it will be a big cost saver.

§  Tom- Should I send an email about individual timers for thermostats?

  • Craig- Yes

4.      Monthly meetings

o   Survey Results: Will these times work for winter quarter as well?

§  The Second Week of the Month

§  M, W, or Th between 2-4p.m.

o   No Meeting in December, this is November’s meeting which was postponed due to inclement weather.

o   January Meeting Date- January 10th from 3-4p.m.- Jessica will find a room.

5.      Sustainability Action Team

o   The college received a grant from WACC to form a sustainability action team. The biggest difference between a committee and an action team is outside involvement. We are trying to involve more students and people in our community that could help us become more sustainable (PUD, MRC, ect…)

o   Laura- One of my concerns is the lack of composting. Does LeMay have a composting program?

§  Lorena- LeMay does not have a program in GH County.

o   Stafford Creek has a composting program and a truck comes every month to take it away. Maybe we could have a speaker come and share methods with us.

o   The other requirement for our WACC grant is putting together a Sustainability Action Plan (1 page with bullet points to 20 page proposal). We had a general consensus to make it fairly simple. We do need to have an itemized list.

§  Publish the executive summary from the Institutional Footprint Project

6.      Service Learning

o   WACC encourages us to look into integrating service learning into the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) disciplines. We are looking into integrating service learning into curriculum and identifying service learning that is already present.

o   Service learning has a reflection piece.

7.      Washington Campus Compact Field Trip

o   We visited Evergreen State College in October for Dialogue for Democracy to learn about how they are working on sustainability and service learning.

o   We will be meeting again quarterly.

o   Tentative meeting is at SPSCC is on February 4th

8.      New business

o   Sub-comittees- we will send out a survey monkey to figure out who wants to focus on what

o   We will be trying to get campus departments to come and report on what they are doing.

o   Is there any way to start a sustainability class?

§  We’re not making new classes right now because of budget cuts.

§  Community Special Interest Classes/Seminars might work. Mark Riseman or Cindy Wilson is in charge.

§  On this note you might be able to do a onetime 299 class for credit.

9.      Closing Comments

10.  Adjourn- 4:05

Reducing Waste

Try to avoid as much packaging as possible, especially things packaged on Styrofoam trays.  Purchase items in bulk whenever possible, and use reusable containers to store items in.  Use recyclable shopping bags, and don’t forget to launder them, in  order to avoid the spread of germs.

This week’s sustainability tip is brought to you by Julie N. Thanks Julie.

A Greener Holiday Season

With Christmas just around the corner, many people will be going out to get a Christmas tree in the next few weeks.  Every year questions seem to arise about which is better a fake or a real Christmas tree.  All other issues aside, the following article looks at which decision is best purely from the standpoint of CO2 emissions.

According to the article, when deciding between a real tree grown on a Christmas tree farm and a fake tree, the real tree is a far greener choice.  An even better choice would be to purchase a potted tree and plant it outside after you are finished using it as a Christmas tree.  The least green choice would be to go out into the woods and cut down a wild Christmas tree.  For more information check out the Wikipedia page on Christmas trees.

Happy Holidays!!

Update: If you already have a fake tree, continue to use it. Many people will buy new artificial trees every few years as old ones get bent or lose pieces. If it comes to that you should definitely start on real ones.

Reusable works for the Future

Carry around your own personal water containers and coffee mugs. This will save numerous bottles and cups from ending up in our landfills.  It will also reduce the waste coming from our own Grays Harbor College.

October 2010 Minutes




Thursday – OCTOBER 21, 2010 – 4:30PM


  1. Attendance – Welcome to Guests
    • Lorena Marchant, Julie Nelson, Kenji Seta, Janelle Spaulding, Jessica James, Kim Jones, Tom Kuester, Holly Mattson, Todd Bates
  1. Introduction of Jessica James and Kim Jones (AmeriCorps)
    • Jessica in particular will be involved with the Sustainability Committee this year.
  1. Review of previous year’s work
    • Looking at Recycling and Sustainability on campus. We did a recycling audit to see how the recycling program has been going. We completed a 70 page institutional footprint project. We worked on but couldn’t complete becoming a tree campus last year.
    • We have been successful with Earth Day celebrations and restoration projects.
  1. Opportunity for opening comment(s)
    • Kim- Restoring the model watershed and getting rid of invasive plants.
    • Jessica- Cutting recycling down further than 30%.
    • Janelle- Continue the sustainability tip of the week (Todd brought this up as well)
    • Janelle- Find out how much energy is used by handicapped door buttons by those who don’t need it.
    • Kenji- Encouraging people to use the stairs instead of wasting energy on the elevator.
    • Kenji-Any thoughts about composting?
      • We are not doing food waste composting but we do landscaping composting.
    • Kenji- Gothic fonts use less ink and we could save a lot of money and toner use.
      • We switched the printers that we could to double sided
    • ?-Promote double sided printing and copying.
    • Lorena- We have discouraged people from putting fliers in every mail box.
    • Kenji- Using smaller margins and lighter copy modes
    • Tod- We could possibly default the copy machines to print double sided and use a lighter setting.
    • Todd- Continue to celebrate Earth Day and National Campus Sustainability Day as two nice events to bookend the year.
    • Tom- PUD and Federal incentive programs need to be advertised and the community needs to be aware of them. (Tax credits, rebates, ect…)
    • Kim- Some students do not even know what compact fluorescent light bulbs are, we could educate them.
    • Julie- Food composting could attract critters and incur more cost for the college but the sustainability tip of the week.
    • Holly- I like Jessica’s idea to increase recycling, we could put the sustainability tips of the week on the TV’s in the HUB
    • Lorena- There is a sustainability blog that has archived tips of the week and minutes.
    • Lorena- I would like to educate people about recycling so we can spread further across the campus.
    • Tom- We could create a new category for campus alerts.
  1. Monthly meetings- schedule for the year
    • Lorena- Maybe we could do a survey on survey monkey to figure out a time.
  1. Sustainability Tip of the Week
    • Signup sheet going around.
    • Reminder will go out a week before.
    • Get the tips to Jessica by Monday the week they are due.
  1. New business
    • Sustainability Action Plan (WACC and Learn and Serve America)
      • We received a grant called the NW sustainability initiative. This grant will allow us to go to other schools to see how they are doing and going to conferences as well.
        • As a part of this grant we must create a sustainability action plan.
          • Possibly change the sustainability committee to a sustainability action team so that we can include outside partners.
        • Tom- we should start out with a prioritized list rather than a grandiose document so that it will be manageable in our small institution.
      • Conference in San Diego to integrate service learning into STEM disciplines.
      • Washington Campus Compact Field Trips (First one Friday October 29th to Evergreen: Dialogue for Democracy)
        • This is a quarterly event. We will be visiting other schools. South Puget sound is about a year ahead of us as far as service learning goes.
    • Service Learning- We will be spending time talking to instructors and trying to increase and implement service learning projects in STEM disciplines. Be on the lookout for Lorena bending your ear.
    • Subcommittee work groups: Energy, Transportation, Purchasing, Food Service, Events, Landscaping/Community Gardening
      • There are not enough people on this committee to have five working groups so Jessica and Kim will be point people for those five groups so you can sign onto those that you are interested.
      • Rotaract is the college equivalent of Rotary and getting a branch started could really help us with projects like this.
      • Natural Resources Club is active and getting started and may be interested. Kim and Jessica could probably come and speak.
  1. Next meeting
    • The week of November 15th
  1. Adjourn 5:30

Save Money, Upgrade Your Home

30% OFF!!!  $1500 REBATES!!! ACT NOW, OFFER EXPIRES DECEMBER 31!!!  No, this is not a scam.  You can receive a federal income tax credit of up to $1500 by purchasing and installing selected energy saving products for your home.  These products include certain types of heating/cooling systems, insulation, roofs, water heaters, windows and doors.  If the products meet certain energy efficiency requirements, you can claim 30% of the cost of the merchandise (installation costs do not count) as an income tax credit.  The sum of the credits cannot exceed $1500.  These credits only count for your principal residence and must be in service by December 31.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!!  You can get credits for geothermal heat pumps, wind turbines, and solar energy systems through 2016.  You can find additional information at

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!!  Grays Harbor PUD offers rebates and loans to install many of the products mentioned above.  (Note:  PUD requires a preliminary audit before you start your project, so make sure you talk to them first.)  There’s more information at

For instance a non-qualifying window at our local big box home improvement center will cost about $150.  You get nothing back from the federal government or PUD for this window.  But if you spend only $50 more, you can qualify for a tax credit of $60.  Plus, you may be able to get the rebate or loan from the PUD.  And of course, you also lower your utility bills and help the environment.

This Tip of the Week has been brought to you by Kenji Seta, thanks Kenji.

Sustainable Gardening Practices

■ Mulch.  Natural mulch, such as grass clippings and fallen leaves, helps retain moisture and adds nutrients to the soil, cutting the need for water and fertilizer.

■ Reduce grass.  Lawn mowers account for 5 percent of our nation’s air pollution, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.  Replace grass with flowers, bushes and trees to trim your work load, eliminate pollution and attract wildlife.

■ Xeriscape.  Planting native, drought-tolerant plants helps cut water use and maintain soil integrity.

■ Catch rain.  Using rain barrels saves water and money while providing a ready source of water for outdoor plants.

■ Go native.  Not only do native plants require less fertilizer, water and pest control, but they also serve as pollinators and food for native wildlife.

Compost   Compost   Compost   Compost   Compost   Compost   Compost  

This tip is brought to you by Janet Parker, the Grounds Supervisor at Grays Harbor College.  Thanks Janet!

Green House Cleaning

Anyone who has had vinyl siding on their home for more than a few years has realized that cleaning it isn’t as easy as the advertisers claim.  Yes, hosing will knock off the loose dirt, dust, spider webs, and some bird poop, but that method falls short when it comes to cleaning off the algae. That insidious algae that takes root in the little etched lines that make the siding look like real wood.  That persistent algae that comes back year after year, despite our best efforts to eradicate it.  Many folks resort to pressure washers which use 2 to 4 gallons of water/minute (yikes!) or solutions like ’30 Seconds’ which claim to be ecological friendly—but how can something that uses bleach be that friendly? 

I started using a formula just this year that is wonderful.  It works incredibly well and doesn’t hurt the environment or the person handling it.  I rinse the siding first, then apply the solution with a polyvinyl brush, scrub, and then rinse.  Yes, it requires elbow grease, but the results are well worth the effort. My siding is 15 plus years old and white; after using this method, it looks brand new.

 1 cup Murphy’s Soap

 1 cup white vinegar

 1 gallon of water

This tip is brought to you by Carol Staricka, the Education Center Manager at Grays Harbor College.  Thanks Carol!