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Green initiatives help boost environmental IQ at Hayward campus

Michael Baldwin measures the levels of oxygen output from O2D2.

Did you know Life Chiropractic College West has a “green team” dedicated to improving the environment at Life West? And not just the campus environment—Life West is taking steps to be part of the bigger picture and reduce it’s footprint, along with other Bay Area businesses.

Life West just earned re-certification as an Alameda County Green Business. Life Styles online wrote about that last month in Life Chiropractic College West earns Green Business certificate. This recertification reflects the school’s interest in public health and goal to create a brighter future for humanity. LCCW aims to do that through chiropractic, but taking care of your body also means taking care of your environment. So a Life West committee dedicated to creating the best environment for learning has instituted projects such as separated trash and recycling, secondary water for landscaping, and testing for improved air quality after using an air scrubber in large classrooms.

The Sustainability Council drives many of these larger projects, which are led by Michael Baldwin, Life West’s Facilities Operations Manager. The council meets twice a quarter and is open to any members of the community. The council includes faculty member Dr. Kerri Duggins, Student Council students, Student Life Director Dani Lorta and Executive Vice President Anatole Bogatski, a Life West administrator.

Michael Baldwin measures the levels of oxygen output from O2D2.

As part of the Green Business certification process, Life West has completed several projects in the past year, both large and small, Baldwin said. You may have read about O2D2 the algae-based air scrubber in another recent post on Life Styles. Life West is a small, non-profit campus, so we’ve been creative in finding ways to improve conservation and efficiency efforts. Here are a few more of the projects that Baldwin’s team has completed:

  • In the past year, all external lighting was replaced with LEDs – 100 light fixtures and poles in the parking lots, which represents not only a big effort for Life West, but has made an impact on the budget. Baldwin said the bill dropped about 10%.
  • The number of electric vehicle, or EV, charging stations on campus has doubled in the last year, from four to eight.
  • Life West has insulated all of the water pipes to help with temperature efficiency.
  • A campus landscaping project using drought-resistant plants was just completed.
  • Three-stream sort stations have been placed throughout the campus, offering options for compost, recycling and waste.
  • Nearly 30 hand dryers are being installed soon, which will help eliminate the 135,000 feet of paper towels the campus consumes in an average month.

Life West also has an air quality council that meets weekly. This is the team behind the air scrubber, which uses algae to pull carbon dioxide out of the air and replace it with fresh oxygen. The scrubber has been tested for effectiveness in some of the larger rooms, and there are plans to build more for classrooms that typically hold a lot of people.

Indoor plants and large trees, especially around Sid Square, are also part of the air quality council’s recently implemented plans. They perform the same function as the algae-based O2D2, pulling carbon dioxide out and replacing it with oxygen.

Dr. Duggins said both groups are making progress as they work on improving the campus environment.

Life West isn’t just looking at facilities and equipment. The Hayward gray water project is another interesting initiative LCCW has joined, and it fits with the college’s ideal in being a certified Green Business. Along Industrial Boulevard in Hayward, there are ongoing efforts to connect businesses with new pipe that will bring secondary water, or gray water, to the campus for use in landscaping. That’s a big deal for a small, non-profit like Life West. Baldwin said the campus is expecting to be hooked up to the Hayward system sometime this summer.

A few other items that have helped Life West earn its Green Business status include:

  • Signage that encourages water conservation and directs people on how to recycle and keep waste from the landfill.
  • Secure bicycle storage.
  • Lockers and showers for employees who walk, jog or bike to work.
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