North Central College supports electric-vehicle usage with Workplace Charging Challenge

Jan 21, 2015

North Central College has joined the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Workplace Charging Challenge as part of the institution’s ongoing commitment to sustainability.

Alongside the likes of Google and The Coca-Cola Company, the College has joined an exclusive group of more than 150 businesses and institutions nationwide pledging to make it easy and convenient for students, employees and visitors to maintain a sustainable lifestyle through on-campus electric vehicle charging stations.

“Encouraging the use of electric vehicles is important,” says Brittany Graham, North Central College’s sustainability coordinator. “As those vehicles become widely used, there’s the potential to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve air quality around campus.”

The College has two electric vehicle charging stations: in the Old Main parking lot off Loomis Street and in the southeast corner of the parking deck off Highland Avenue. The stations were installed in winter 2012 and spring 2014, respectively.

To join the Workplace Charging Challenge, the College’s Sustainability staff assessed demand at both charging stations, working closely with the DOE to develop a plan to maintain and promote the electric charging program. Graham said that by drawing attention to charging stations, the College is serving the environment and surrounding community.

“Reaffirming our commitment to the program draws attention to it, encouraging further use of the charging stations. This creates a healthy, thriving community for all,” says Graham.

The College owns two all-electric, zero-emission vehicles as part of its maintenance fleet, and Graham says the electric charging stations may encourage more students and faculty to use “green” transportation.

“As the College sees more demand for the charging stations, the program will grow to match those needs,” says Graham.

Any student, faculty, staff or campus visitor who would like to charge a vehicle on campus can do so for free, within the three-hour charging limit. Permanent access can be granted by the sustainability coordinator to students, faculty and staff. Campus visitors can check out a Charge Point card from the front desks of Old Main, Harold and Eva White Activities Center or the Residence Hall/Recreation Center. To ensure convenience, the charging stations can be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week by those granted access. Contact Graham at 630-637-5623 to learn more.

Launched in January 2013, the DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge set the goal of increasing the number of American employers offering workplace charging by tenfold by 2018. What began as a commitment by 13 founding partners has grown to include more than 150 organizations, including businesses of all sizes, hospitals, academic institutions and government agencies. Partners provide access to charging stations for some 600,000 employees at more than 300 worksites across the country, influencing other organizations to do the same. In the Workplace Charging Challenge Progress Update, Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson said that joining the partnership provides tangible proof of organizational values, demonstrating environmental stewardship and a concern for the community’s quality of life.

In addition to joining the Workplace Charging Challenge, North Central College has been recognized as a gold-level institution for its commitment to adopting and fulfilling environmental goals through the Illinois Campus Sustainability Compact. To achieve the state’s highest recognition for energy-saving and environmentally friendly initiatives, the College continues to meet a rigorous set of requirements, setting measurable objectives and establishing sustainability as an integral part of the College’s plan.

North Central College was included in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 332 Green Colleges: 2014 Edition.” The College was cited for its robust alternative transportation program, bike-sharing program, LEED-certified Silver Residence Hall/Recreation Center, Community Garden Project, campus dining efforts that include recycling used oil and grease to green diesel research, composting program, faculty-student research in the area of sustainability, fleet of two electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging stations, student clubs, and Career Center assistance with locating green jobs.