The essential part of the college’s commitment to sustainability is educating students, which is evolving in an interesting way. In addition to programs that concentrate on green topics, individual departments increasingly incorporate environmental sustainability principles into their curricula. For instance, students encounter green-chemistry practices in labs. Certain biology courses highlight resource conservation and pollution prevention. Automotive Technology runs a class in which students produce bio-diesel fuel from food grease.
Following are some key programs for people pursuing skills and careers in green and renewable energy technologies:
Classes at the Training and Education Center for Semiconductor Manufacturing and Alternative and Renewable Technologies — TEC-SMART— will start this spring. A driving force behind this new facility and programs is the need for skilled technicians in the renewable energy and semiconductor industries. The college developed TEC-SMART programs in partnership with New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), other local and state agencies, and business and industry experts to ensure that the college produces technicians ready to meet industry needs. Topics focus on the design and installation of renewable energy technologies — solar, solar thermal, wind, geothermal — and on alternative fuels like hydrogen, bio-diesel, ethanol and fuel cells. Hands-on training also will be available with the building’s photovoltaic panels and wind turbines.
TEC-SMART initially will consist of two programs:
- Electrical Technology: Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology — This program combines classroom education with hands-on instruction. Students learn and work in clean-room and semiconductor labs and qualify for jobs as “work station operators” in clean room environments or transfer to four-year programs.
- Photovoltaic Installation Certificate —This course series is part of the School of Engineering and Industrial Technologies’ Electrical Construction and Maintenance program. The college recently was awarded a $148,000 competitive grant from the NYSERDA to create two photovoltaic-specific courses, as well as the TEC-SMART photovoltaic lab with roof-mounted and post-mounted solar panels.
Center for Energy Efficiency and Building Science (CEEBS)
The college is New York State’s leader in home-energy efficiency training through the Center for Energy Efficiency and Building Science (CEEBS). This collaboration with
NYSERDA and the Long Island Power Authority offers non-credit energy efficiency courses to contractors, builders and consumers. In 2008, NYSERDA honored CEEBS with the Outstanding Partnership Award recognizing excellence in partnerships among trades, educational institutions and businesses. The U.S. Department of Labor also recently awarded CEEBS a $2 million grant to offer more credit and non-credit courses preparing workers for the energy efficiency field.
Precursor to our newer programs, Environmental Science joined the curriculum in 1993. It helps meet the rapidly growing need for environmental science professionals in a variety of specialties and sectors. Many students transfer to four-year schools for environmental science-related degree programs and careers in the environmental field.
Construction Technology and Civil Engineering
Sustainable design and building performance (BPI) permeates the Construction Technology and Civil Engineering program. The curriculum follows closely requirements the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Students learn to evaluate green versus traditional construction practices to achieve a balance of cost and energy savings. They consider green building and recycled products, demolition techniques to reuse materials and minimize waste, energy saving building design and products, and alternate energy options. Interestingly, the program offers a four-day class schedule so students can reduce their carbon footprint by eliminating commuting time.