Renewable Energy Certificate
What are green technologies?Bioenergy
Energy Efficiency and Weatherization
Renewable and Alternative Energy
Sustainability is stewardship and the responsible use of resources where the needs of present society are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is keeping biological systems diverse and productive over time as a healthy ecosystem, ethical consumerism, urban planning, energy & transportation planning, lifestyle and cultural behavior issues, optimizing food production capacity, and developing new technologies that reduce the consumption of non-renewable resources. Achieving sustainability will enable Earth to support life as we know it. There are challenges, however, as developing countries begin to use more fossil fuels and resources to develop infrastructure and a higher standard of living for their people that other cultures already enjoy.
Sustainability involves reconciling environmental, social, and economic needs. These three pillars of sustainability suggest many goals but how these goals are achieved are open to interpretation and debate. We struggle with what the definition of sustainability is as it should be factual and scientific but it also has to address current cultural inequities, unsustainable use of water and resources in some cultures, and the global balancing of production and consumption. We don’t have a consensual definition or plan on how to achieve sustainable systems for everyone and that is a major challenge. The total impact on humankind depends on the global population and if the ecosystem carrying capacity and global resources can equitably support everyone on Earth.
Environmental consideration in sustainability involves environmental management and stewardship. We have to manage our industrial processes to protect air, land, and water to ensure our environment remains healthy. The Earth has limited ability to cleanse itself of toxic chemicals, combustion aerosols, pollutants, and particulates. Oceans and land use have to maintain productivity to allow future generations to sustainably harvest fish and grow their own food. Energy needs to shift to renewable sources rather than fossil origin to reduce pollution and its effects. Water use needs to be limited to the regeneration capacity of aquifers and surface water use should be more efficient. Finally, as the global population increases we need to find ways of using more renewable sources of building materials and chemicals while utilizing recyclable materials as much as possible.
The social dimension of sustainability might be the most difficult to address as each global culture has its own views about what inputs and how much is needed to support their own lifestyle or the lifestyle they aspire to. There is a vast difference in resource use between developed and undeveloped nations. Social justice and poverty alleviation is important to undeveloped nations, less so to the developed nations. Population growth in undeveloped nations will complicate the sustainable discussion as they want a larger share of resources to improve their lifestyle. As the developed nations become further removed from first-hand knowledge of food production and natural ecosystems, their concern for the natural environment may change if the issue isn’t in their back yard. Transportation issues can become transformational if the cost of fuel does not allow long-distance commuting to jobs and navigation within urban sprawl. The inequitable distribution of resources may result in intercultural resource wars.
Economic sustainability promotes social equity and well-being while preventing environmental degradation. Unsustainable economic growth is linked to overexploitation of the Earth’s life-support system which has negative consequences for future generations. We have to find ways of producing more goods with fewer energy and material inputs while maintaining our standard of living by reducing the amount of resources like water, energy, wood, or materials that are needed for support of our lifestyles. We also need to learn how to be happy when we use fewer resources.
Resource sustainability for the global population is a complex issue requiring significant action, planning, and cooperation. Lake Land offers TEC 066, Resource Sustainability, which examines sustainable energy generation and use, housing sustainability, water use, recycling, resource use reduction, and cultural issues relating to lifestyles of health and sustainability.
Career pathways in sustainability might include Recycling Coordinators, Recyclers, Environmental Resource Manager, Environmental Regulation Administrator, Facility Planner, Green Economy Director, Materials Analyst, Political Scientist, Policy Developer, Political Analyst, Politian, or others.
Smart Grid Technology
Future of Green Jobs
Lake Land College’s Technology faculty are creating programs and courses that meet current technical demands as well as the business side of the growing sustainability field. The programs span from learning technical skills, installing renewable energy systems, and servicing equipment to gaining business knowledge to run sustainable offices, handle sales or market new renewable energy products and services.
Future courses and programs will include training in low-impact, energy efficient construction techniques, integration of digital networks in home construction, training in SCADA, wind energy, smart grid operation, renewable & alternative energy, energy efficiency & weatherization, resource sustainability, solar thermal applications, bioenergy, and site assessment for renewable energy.
Three new certificates and one degree program have been developed will provide opportunities to specialize in green technology, earn an associate degree, or prepare for additional training at a four-year college or university.
Director of Sustainability
Coordinator Special Projects
Timothy Van Dyke
Division Chair Technology/Civil Engineering Tech Instructor
Linda Von Behren
Associate Vice President for Workforce Development