Archive for Good Stuff

SWCD and the Miller Creek Watershed

From the Miller Creek TMDL to the Jumbo Gully Project below LSC’s overflow parking lot, the South St. Louis County Soil and Water Conservation District’s (SWCD) is passionate about protecting our natural resource:

From the SWCD Miller Creek Watershed webpage

Miller Creek Watershed overview
Miller Creek is unique in that it is a designated trout stream located within a heavily developed urban corridor (the Duluth Miller Hill Mall Area and the City of Duluth). Miller Creek has been the subject of myriad studies and has received much attention over the past few decades. The watershed is approximately 10 square miles. It originates from headwater wetlands in Hermantown and empties into Lake Superior at 26th Ave. West just below Lincoln Park.

The primary concern with Miller Creek is the decline and potential loss of the brook trout fishery in the creek. Related concerns include increased water temperatures, sedimentation, loss of habitat, and high chloride and metals concentrations. The overall goal of the Miller Creek Watershed Restoration Project is to provide for a viable, self-sustaining urban trout fishery, as well as to educate the public regarding watershed health and urban impacts to area trout streams. “


Learn more about the SWCD and projects they’re involved in by clicking here.


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LSC Adopt-A-Parking Lot Project

Most lots on campus has been adopted, and the program so far has been a HUGE success!  These adopting groups have cleaned the trash from adopted lots and surrounding green space once per month since October 2012, and the groups have received unique recognition for doing it.  We put each team’s name on a sign posted at each lot.  Student Life also contributes $100 to the club’s budget after a semester of clean-ups is complete.  It’s like a legacy gift from each club to next semester’s members, not to mention the gift of a cleaner campus and Miller Creek for everyone!

Email for more information or to request a lot!

aapl signjpg



LOT 1-UPPER: Physical Therapy Assistant Club


LOT 2 Phi Theta Kappa

LOT 3: Nursing Club

LOT 4: Auto Club


LOT 6: LSC Store


LOT 10: Respiratory Club

ERTC: Fire Tech Club

2014 Adopt-A-Lot map

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Mighty Miller Creek: High Water Events 5/29/2012 & 6/20/2012

 This WAS impressive

first heavy rain event: May 29th, 2012

…but this June-monsoon trumped the May rain event

Record rains caused both Miller Creek foot bridges to wash out on 6/20/2012.  The picture at top right was taken last spring at our trail head.  The trail head is now lacking a bridge.

The inset photo at top left is what the 2nd bridge USED TO look like (with expensive monitoring equipment attached)



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LSC Campus Accessibility Survey

LSC Campus Accessibility Survey, run May 7-11 2012, 51 responses tallied below:


1. Commuting to, from, or around campus, do you walk? (This INCLUDES to and from your vehicle)

Yes        78.4%    40

No         23.5%    12


2. Commuting to, from, or around campus, do you bike?

Yes         13.7%    7

No          86.3%    44


3. Commuting to, from, or around campus, do you use a wheel chair?

Yes          3.9%      2

No          98.0%    50


4. How safe do you feel using these modes of transportation at LSC?

Very     62.7%    32

Somewhat          27.5%    14

Not at All            9.8%      5


5. Would you be more likely to walk, bicycle or wheel chair to and from the campus if safe, easy access were provided?

Yes        72.5%    37

No         27.5%    14


6. Would you use surfaced trails to move around the campus for recreation, stress relief and transportation to other parts of the campus if they existed?

Yes        98.0%    50

No           2.0%      1

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New Health and Science Building Achieves LEED Silver

LSC’s new Health and Science Building was designed LEED Silver, which means the design is responsible for incorporating at least 50 points related to environmental sustainability.  At final tally, we were just short of Gold certification!  Here’s just a few of the key points we achieved:

 Construction Activity Pollution Prevention

Sitework for the building was designed and constructed in a way to:

  • Prevent loss of soil during construction by stormwater runoff and/or wind erosion, including protecting topsoil by stockpiling for reuse.
  • Prevent sedimentation of storm sewer or receiving streams.
  • Prevent polluting the air with dust and particulate matter.

Construction Waste Management

  • Over 75% of the construction debris was diverted from disposal in landfills.
  • Recycled content and regional (within 500 miles) materials were used throughout the building process.

Public Transportation Access

LSC’s Student Life funds a free bus pass for students through the UPASS Program, reducing our reliance on single passenger vehicle travel to and from campus.

Preferred Parking for Carpool

LSC will designate two preferential parking spaces specifically reserved for carpools, increasing awareness of the need for reduced single passenger vehicles.

Undeveloped Outdoor Space

A space equal to the building footprint will be left vegetated and undeveloped on the northeast of the building, maximizing open spaces adjacent to the building.

Stormwater Management

Bio-swales, consisting of a biofiltration soil mix and tolerant native plants, promote infiltration of at least 90% of roof and pavement runoff from an average rainfall event.

Water Efficient Landscaping

The landscaping installed for the project does not require permanent irrigation systems.  Native plants, sod & seed mixes were selected for their drought tolerance and will obtain adequate moisture from normal rainfall events.

Water Use Reduction

Water fixtures throughout the building reduce water usage by 20%.

  • Urinals use 0.125 gallons per flush vs. typical 1.0 gallons per flush urinals.
  • Faucets use 0.5 gallons per minute vs. typical 2.5 GPM lavatory faucets
  • The janitor sinks uses a low flow 2.5 gallon per minute flow faucet.
  • The lab sinks use a low flow 2.0 gallon per minute flow faucet.

Fundamental Refrigerant Management

No HVAC&R system equipment in the building uses CFC-based refrigerants. Refrigerants and HVAC&R equipment for the project were specifically selected to minimize or eliminate the emission of compounds that contribute to ozone depletion and global warming.

Storage & Collection of Recyclables

LSC has an extensive recycling program, and a recycling room is provided in the new building to ensure proper handling of recyclable materials.

Indoor Air Quality

The building meets and exceeds the LEED Standard Minimum Indoor Air Quality standards by 30%.

Outdoor Air Delivery Monitoring

Permanent monitoring systems are installed to provide feedback on ventilation system performance and ensure that ventilation systems maintain design minimum ventilation requirements.

Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control

LSC prohibits smoking in buildings and on campus, improving overall air quality in and around buildings.

Low-Emitting Materials

Low-emitting adhesives and sealants were used on the interior of the building.

Primers, paints and coatings used on the interior of the building were required to meet specific VOC requirements established for buildings by Green Seal Standards.

All carpet installed in the building was required to meet the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Green Label Plus program.

Recycled  content concrete tiles were installed in the main hallway and some labs and classrooms.  These tiles are removable and individually replaceable, and also allow for easy access to air and water handling pipes (that’s right, under the floor!).

Composite wood, and agrifiber products, used on the interior of the building could not contain added urea-formaldehyde resins. Laminating adhesives used for casework also contain no added urea-formaldehyde resins.

LSC has specifically purchased low-emitting furniture which will not negatively impact the indoor air quality in this new building.  Furniture has been manufactured, refurbished or refinished within one year prior to occupancy and must be either Greenguard Indoor Air Quality Certified, or been tested by a third-party testing laboratory following procedures defined by the EPA.

Lighting and Thermal Comfort

A high level of lighting system and thermal control by individual occupants is installed to promote the productivity, comfort and well-being of building occupants.

Daylighting and Views

This building provides daylight to 85% of the occupied space.

  • Daylight sensors reduce the demand on the light fixtures, reducing the energy used to light spaces when receiving daylight.
  • Window shades are utilized to avoid high-contrast situations that could impede visual tasks.
  • Tubular skylights (SolaTubes) utilizing reflective surfaces are used in many places to bring daylight into interior spaces.

Green Housekeeping

LSC has adopted green housekeeping policies and procedures intended to minimize negative affects to indoor air quality campus wide, including the use of many GreenSeal cleaning prodcuts.



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LSC’s Vending Miser Project

In an effort to save energy here at LSC, we have been installing Vending Misers and Snack misers on the vending machines located around the LSC campus.  They are sensors that shut off the machines and conserve energy when nobody is around to use them. The misers fit onto the back of the machines and the sensor activates it when someone is right in front of it. The Vending Misers cycle the refrigeration units every 2 hours to keep the drinks cold, and still conserve energy.

For the first part of our study we placed kilowatt meters on several random machines around the campus and monitored them for a week. One machine used 36.10 kilowatts of energy in one week without the Vending Miser on it. After the Vending miser was installed the energy consumption was down to 21.51 kilowatts in one week. If they all had vending misers on them that’s 14.59 kilowatts per machine per week of energy saved.  It’s worth noting that our study was done during spring semester.  The potential energy savings over summer semester could be much greater.

In total we have 23 pop machines and 5 snack machines. We would also save a lot of money if we removed a few of the pop machines. There are several locations where there are two or more machines very close to one another. If we got rid of one or two of them, it would save us almost $100 a year per machine in operating costs.

Currently we have installed Vending Misers on 7 different vending machines around the school. We do have more of them, and will be installing them in the near future. If you have any questions about them please ask someone on the Environmental Council.

Without miser With miser
Energy use in 1 week 36.10kW 21.51kW
Cost to run machine 1 week(@ 5¢/kWh) $1.81 $1.08
Operating cost in a year $93.86 $55.93






Written by Lance Lindquist

Environmental Council Work Study

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LSC’s Sustainability Plan of Action

As a 2008 signatory to the American Colleges & Universities Presidents’ Climate Commitment, LSC is required to complete and submit a plan outlining our goals and intentions to reduce carbon emissions through various energy emission mitigation strategies and educational and community outreach efforts.

Over the course of one year, the Lake Superior College Sustainability Plan of Action was completed by students and staff within the college’s Environmental Council with input and support from administration, knowledge of many individuals on campus, and collaborative efforts with other colleges in our region.

View the full Plan here: Lake Superior College Sustainability Plan of Action

This document is a plan for LSC to achieve at least a 50% reduction in eCO2 emissions by 2030.  Recognizing the fluctuating nature of environmental technology and social change, this Plan will focus on the next few years followed by five-year interim goals until 2030; bi-annual reviews of this document will address the years to follow.   This review process will address LSC’s goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2060. To achieve this goal thoughtful planning and direction are necessary.  This goal and Plan will prompt meaningful discussion and development of policies and procedures needed to get us there.

As of May 6th, 2011, the final Plan has been submitted to ACUPCC!  This document will utilized in annual planning for campus sustainability projects and will be updated every two years and re-submitted to ACUPCC.  If you have comments or suggestions for future drafts, feel free to leave them here!

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