Salt Lake Community College has been using goats to eat and trim grass in hard-to-reach places.
The goats belong to farmer Ryan Schmidt and are being kept on the Jordan Campus. The goats graze for free and, in return, SLCC gets to use them as lawnmowers. This mutually beneficial relationship helps defray landscaping costs while helping the environment.
As for how the relationship between SLCC and Schmidt started, Schmidt says, “We had been farming the lands before the state bought it, and they asked us to continue farming until they needed to use it.”
The goats move around several times per year, making stops at other SLCC campuses. Currently, they graze primarily on a large hill at the backside of the stadium at the Jordan Campus, under the watchful eye of Kameron Howell, the facilities manager at Jordan Campus.
“The hill is too steep to mow — and it’s a pretty big hill,” Howell says.
These lawn mowing goats are just one of the many green initiatives SLCC pursues.
Joel Evans, the grounds manager for SLCC, says they are working on eliminating turf in favor of decorative rock to cut down on water consumption.
“This will end up replacing over two acres of high-water use,” Evans says.
SLCC is also upgrading the irrigation control platform to an evapotranspiration (ET) based watering method for the plants on campus.
“The ET system adjusts water on a daily basis based on what the weather is like,” Evans says. “There’s potential to save a lot of water there.”
In addition to the water savings, SLCC is also making strides to minimize their carbon footprint.
“Right now, we have five solar arrays across campuses,” says Michael Peterson, SLCC’s energy manager.
While the panels only cover a small portion of energy usage, Peterson says the new Westpointe Center produces more energy than they use during the sunniest parts of the year, which makes its way back to the power grid through Rocky Mountain Power.
“We also have seven electric car charging stations, with an eighth one on its way for the AAB building [in the Taylorsville Redwood Campus],” Peterson continues.
Currently, there are two charging stations at the Westpointe Center, and one charging station at the Miller, Jordan and South City campuses, respectively.
Other projects — some of which have not yet been approved — include re-commissioning HVAC equipment to improve efficiency, channeling non-culinary water from the Jordan Canal, and replacing stadium lights with LED lights.