The installation of two electric vehicle charge stations is the latest green initiative to sprout at Fort Lewis College, spearheaded by the Campus Sustainability Council. Four electric vehicles will be able to charge up at once, as each ChargePoint station is equipped with two plugs. The four parking spaces, including one accessible parking space, are next to Sitter Family Hall. The CSC received $18,000 in funding from Charge Ahead Colorado, a program of the Colorado Energy Office, for the purchase and installation of two charge stations.
The charge stations support the CSC’s Sustainability Action Plan and goal of reaching carbon neutrality at FLC by 2050. Since 2011, the baseline year for campus carbon emissions, FLC has seen a 62% reduction in its carbon footprint.
“Commuting is a substantial part of our carbon footprint and the hardest to tackle because it’s decentralized,” says Kathy Hilimire, associate professor of Environment & Sustainability and campus sustainability coordinator.
The multitude of ways people arrive to campus make it harder to widely apply sustainable solutions. CSC encourages clean commuting by utilizing the free and discounted transit passes available to students and employees respectively, as well as through trail use, either walking or biking up to campus. Now, with electric vehicles becoming increasingly affordable, the charge stations are a critical piece to the clean commute puzzle. And the charge will be, well, free of charge.
"One of the things we try to do is show our community how to be sustainable on a budget and emphasize things that are cost saving and accessible. We’re excited to provide free charging."
“One of the things we try to do is show our community how to be sustainable on a budget and emphasize things that are cost saving and accessible,” says Hilimire. “We’re excited to provide free charging.”
Plugging in will be free, but commuters will still need a day or annual pass to park at the charge station.
In addition to Charge Ahead grant, the CSC received financial support through the Green Fund, donations to FLC reserved for sustainability initiatives. La Plata Electric Association also pitched in a generous $4,000 gift.
“Fort Lewis College is a major pillar in the community and a strong partner for LPEA on multiple efforts,” says Jessica Matlock, CEO of LPEA. “We are pleased to support this initiative to power more of our lives with clean, sustainable electricity.”
The charge stations will be available on a first come, first served basis. A full charge will take about six to eight hours. Depending on the amount of use the stations get, time limits and a virtual waiting list could be implemented, and potentially more stations.