Walsh College installs charging stations for electric cars

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published January 25, 2012


Walsh College got a bit greener last month after three electric car charging stations were installed at the east end of the college.

The charging stations look like a cross between a parking meter and gas pump, Chris Stout, facilities director for Walsh College, said.

The devices work with a card from ChargePoint America, a program that provides electric vehicle charging infrastructure to nine selected regions in the U.S. Coulomb Technologies sponsors the program, which is funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding, through the Transportation Electrification Initiative.

Users can sign up online and search for locations of charging stations throughout the region, Stout said.

“There is tracking software, and we know a couple people have used it,” she said. “We’re hopeful more people will use it as more cars equipped for that get out on the road and as we get the information out in the community.”

The charging stations are located at the Barry Center, a 37,000-square-foot eco-friendly addition at the college that was completed in 2007. Construction features include reusing old parking lot material as a base for the new lot; a white roof, which deflects heat; classrooms on a windowless second-story that allow extensive insulation; sensors that adjust lighting, heating and cooling in occupied rooms; and use of native plants that don’t require irrigation.

A bioswale filters pollutants from about 7 million gallons of storm water for reuse, and solar power is used to heat the building. Twenty-five percent of construction materials were produced locally.

Stout said it cost the college 10 percent more to build green.

“The college continues to support green initiatives that were started with the building of the Barry Center,” Stout said.

In 2010, the college was awarded gold level certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, a point system that recognizes green measures, such as vegetated roofs, water and energy conservation, diverting construction waste from landfills, reuse of products, indoor environmental quality, and design innovation.

The construction project earned the Green Building of America Award from Real Estate & Construction Review magazine and the Construction Association of Michigan Project of the Year award.

Stephanie Bergeron, president and CEO of Walsh, said that while the students appreciate the eco-features of the campus, they really enjoy the design and character of the building.

“When we built the Barry Center, we thought about traditional construction,” she said. “But as we went through and are living with the (green) process, wherever we can incorporate features that honor those elements and serve students, that’s always a great thing to do. We are much more attuned to opportunities to be eco-friendly.”

The charging stations are open to all; people need not be a Walsh student to use them. Walsh College is located at 3838 Livernois, south of Wattles.