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CLC awarded STARS® silver rating for promoting sustainability

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Aug 15, 2017

The College of Lake County has received its third “green” award in the last 12 months, a STARS® silver rating from the Philadelphia-based Association for the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education.

STARS, an acronym for Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™, refers to the reporting process used for measuring green efforts in institutions ranging from community colleges to four-year universities, said David Husemoller, CLC sustainability manager. Earlier this year, CLC submitted to AASHE a report documenting best practices in 17 areas covering academics, community engagement, campus operations and leadership, including curriculum, purchasing practices and landscape management.

“We are honored to be recognized with this silver rating from AASHE,” said CLC Interim President Dr. Rich Haney. “Sustainability is one of CLC’s strategic priorities, and faculty and staff have worked hard to infuse sustainability into the college’s culture.”

Husemoller added, “This is an exciting achievement because CLC is one of seven community colleges in Illinois to achieve a current STARS rating, and one of only three to achieve a silver rating or better.”

Among CLC’s accomplishments highlighted in the report are:

  • The Grayslake Campus functions as a living laboratory for sustainability. The college’s $148 million sustainable master plan includes new and renovated buildings designed to meet LEED Gold and Platinum standards.
  • The college offers three distinct academic programs related to sustainability. In addition to a two-year, transferable A.S. degree in biology, CLC offers a horticulture program consisting of five A.A.S. degrees and five certificates in fields ranging from sustainable agriculture to natural areas management. Finally, the college’s sustainability program offers two transfer degrees, an A.A. in policy and social aspects and an A.S. focusing on the science and technical aspects.
  • Fully 23 percent of course offerings contain all or some element of sustainability in the course material. The college offers 43 undergraduate courses on sustainability and another 156 courses that include sustainability.

Geothermal system pipingSince the college began implementing the sustainable master plan, CLC has saved operational costs with reduced utility bills. After the new geothermal heating and cooling system began operating last September, three months into Fiscal Year 2017, the Grayslake Campus saw an 8.8 percent drop in energy usage, Husemoller said. As a whole, the college saved $164,714 in electrical and natural gas expenses in FY17 compared to the average over the previous nine years. The figure is expected to increase in FY18 as the geothermal system will be operational for all 12 months, and as the college continues adding more energy-saving measures such as LED lights.

Participating AASHE institutions are eligible to earn a bronze, silver, gold or platinum rating. View CLC’s full report, and for more information on AASHE, visit

The AASHE rating comes on the heels of two other national “green” awards. In May, the college’s new Science Building, scheduled to open soon and containing sustainable features ranging from solar panels to rainwater recovery, received an exclusive Emerald Award for Building Innovation from the Illinois chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. In October 2016, CLC was one of nine community colleges nationwide to receive a $10,000 Green Genome award from the American Association of Community Colleges. The award recognized CLC for incorporating sustainability into its governance structure and overall college culture.

Learn more about CLC’s sustainable efforts at

CLC’s Fall Semester begins Aug. 21, and many late-starting classes are available. To view course offerings and learn how to become a student, visit