Triple Bottom Line: How Green Schools Save Money, Promote Health, and Improve Achievement


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Why should schools develop a culture of environmental sustainability? With increasing environmental challenges in recent years, the “triple bottom line” applied to schools can help to save money, promote health, and improve achievement.

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  • Overview: Inspiration for Change (slide 1)
    Dominican Sisters’: In the 1990’s, the Dominican sisters embarked upon the Sustainability Project. They realized that their centuries long mission to care for people needed to have a broader scope. In other words, that they needed to care for the environment, as well, in order to insure the well being of all.
    Our school: (slide 2)
  • Our school: (slide 2)
    As a Dominican School, this became an integral part of our mission: “We celebrate diversity, recognizing God’s presence in ourselves an in all creation. We recognize what it means to be human in a global community and respond with integrity to the needs and challenges of our time.”
    As educators, we recognize that our ultimate goal is to educate students to have knowledge and skills to help create a future where we can all THRIVE
  • Physical Context: Effective Use of Resources
    Facility: 500+ acres w/almost 700 people
    Early on there was awareness on need for change. If we want to teach about sustainability, we must model it through our practices. The game changer was really hiring a Director of Sustainability to advance campus-wide initiatives. Changes to improve our daily operations then included: (slide 3)
    Audits and assessments of how we use resources, such as water, energy, waste, etc.
    Creating an understanding for the need to more efficiently manage resources – partnerships were created with the administration, maintenance, and service food services to help coordinate these changes.
    This resulted in several fundamental environmental “retrofits”
    Managing our waste: Reducing where possible (ex. Junk mail, printed materials), green purchasing (non-toxic cleaning supplies, products with recycled content), recycling and composting food and landscape waste. We also have an onsite large scale horse manure system that provides compost for school garden & campus. We currently have a %64 recycling rate. Recycling & Composting saves up to $15,000 annually.
    Energy & Water Conservation
    Energy – We perform annual audits and track our usage through the Energy Star Portfolio Manager. We have retrofitted almost of our lighting, installed LED exit signs, upgraded to more efficient boiler with weather sensor controls, installed programmable thermostats and light sensors in some bathrooms, solar thermal system for pool, 412kW Photovoltaic system that generates up to 85% of schools energy needs. Since the installation, we have reduced carbon emissions by an estimated 11,625 metric tons .In efficient lighting alone, we have saved an estimated $19,792/year and 83,272 annual kWh. Additional lights are being installed this year for savings of $4,800 and 25,278 kWh.
    Water - Annual audits and monitoring through utility bills. We have all low flow toilets, installed aerators to faucets, efficient showerheads, capped off unnecessary irrigation and swtiched to drip, native and drought tolerant plantings, compost & mulch to protect soil, three 10,000 gallon tanks collect water from artesian spring to water garden, students paint 100 gallon rainbarrels installed on campus to water student planting pots.
  • Result: All of this has led not just to more efficient daily operations, but as we have created a healthier environment, we choose green ways to school, we teach nutrition through the garden, serve local and organic food, consistently use green seal certified cleaning products and have developed wellness programs. We have created a HEALTHIER environment for work and a dynamic context for learning.
    We have an extensive bus transportation system with 75% of student ridership. In partnership with Safe Routes to School, we hold “Green Ways to School Days” and provide bike safety workshops.
    Students learn where food comes from by growing in the garden. They harvest and cook in the garden kitchen where they learn about nutrition, cultural traditions and basic food preparation. Garden produce and foods from local farms are served in the cafeteria (30% organic). Students visit local farms to learn about sustainable farming and glean food that is donated to other schools or food banks. All food scraps are composted and the cycle starts again!
  • The campus becomes a model for sustainability and a living classroom: students can analyze data generated by solar panels, or understand the seed to table cycle as they work in our school garden and prepare food in the garden kitchen.
    Garden Program
    Prek-5th Grade classes visit the garden weekly during 6-week garden units. Lessons follow a Seed to Table model, but are adapted to each classes curriculum.
    For example: 3rd grade studies local environment so in the garden we focus on local agriculture in Marin. Students learn about the different types of farming in Marin. They experience each type of farming experientially: vegetable farming – they plant and prepare a seasonal veggie dish, dairy farming – they make homemade cheese; Underwater farming – they study anatomy of oysters & clams donated by local oyster farm, bbq and eat.
  • Foster student leadership at each division level: Green Team in the HS & Eco-club in the MS
    Invite the community onto campus to educate and celebrate through: Garden potlucks, annual garden day and Earth Day
    Student Green teams provide a forum for students to make change. (examples: awareness campaigns, solar presentation to board, Auspens, recycling improvements and planning annual Earthday activities.,
  • Ultimately, students learn how to apply principles of sustainability to the wider community through participation in: gleaning, homeward bound and beach clean-ups
  • To truly educate and prepare our students for a sustainable future, our most important step is to develop an innovative curriculum that places sustainability at it’s core by integrating key concepts, such as systems thinking, and giving many opportunities to apply them across all disciplines and all grade levels (next slide)
  • Challenges
    Very large campus to manage
    Financial constraints – not always the resources to dedicate
    International student body – creates cultural differences to overcome
    Director of Sustainability for a Pre-K to 12 school cannot always be everywhere at all levels to the advance program
    Real cost savings for school: In efficient lighting alone, we save up to $25,000 annually, recycling/composting saves up to $12,000 annually and our solar array offsets 65% of our electricity bills.
    Overall success of program: Crittendon example – Students making change in their communities.
  • Conclusion: Recently, environmental author, William McDonough, spoke at our school about his book, The Upcycle, and he advocated for a mindset that moves us beyond sustainability to one where we design for abundance. He said:
    What if humans designed products and systems that celebrate an abundance of human creativity, culture and productivity? That are so intelligent and safe, our species leaves an ecological footprint to delight in, not lament?
    This truly is what we hope to achieve through all that we do and we encourage you in your efforts to do likewise.
  • Triple Bottom Line: How Green Schools Save Money, Promote Health, and Improve Achievement

    1. 1. Inverness Associates Schools Going Green California’s Pioneering Role CAIS Trustee Heads Conference January 25, 2014 Paul Chapman, Inverness Associates
    2. 2. Four Green School Leaders Inverness Associates
    3. 3. Our Beautiful Spaceship Earth Inverness Associates
    4. 4. Houston, We Have a Problem Inverness Associates
    5. 5. My Green Schools Journey Inverness Associates
    6. 6. How to Green Your School • Environmental Vision, • • • • Mission, Goals, & Action Plan Strong Leadership: Top Down, Bottom Up Teamwork: Green Council and Green Teams Five Disciplines - Efficient Resources - Healthy Environment - Nutritious Food - Ecological Curriculum - Community Practice Measure, Manage & Report Progress Inverness Associates
    7. 7. Survey Shows: Interest in Being Green Is Very High Inverness Associates
    8. 8. Green Initiatives Are Underway Inverness Associates
    9. 9. Go Green, For the Kids’ Future Inverness Associates
    10. 10. The Nueva School: Environmental Stewardship and Sustainable Development Presented by Diane Rosenberg Head of School, The Nueva School The Nueva School | PreK–12 | Hillsborough • San Mateo
    11. 11. Overview • Nueva has a longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability and regeneration that enhances its curriculum as well as its campus • Environmental stewardship and sustainable development are responsibilities stemming from its commitment to both the community and its vision of serving as a “learning laboratory”
    12. 12. Curriculum Integration: Garden • Kindergarteners nurtured and studied their own fava bean plants • 1st grade harvested vegetables for their science unit on balance and weight • 2nd graders studied soil ecology, closely observing worm habitats and plant roots. • 3rd graders investigated how gardening and farming relate to the question: how does geography affect the way that people live? • 5th graders read Paul Fleishman’s Seedfolks, and as they read about his community garden they grew their own
    13. 13. Curriculum Integration: Design Thinking • 4th grade LED light project • 6th grade solar house • 7th grade windmills
    14. 14. Curriculum Integration: Service Learning Projects • 3rd grade service learning fair: In small groups students chose different people or groups they could help and used design thinking to come up with solutions • Middle School and Upper School students volunteer with groups like Acterra and do habitat and watershed restoration • SPEW, Society for the Promotion of Environmental Welfare, was a student run Middle School organization. One of 16 winning teams in 2010 Lexus Eco Challenge • Members interested in communicating to other students the state of our environment and doing hands-on projects that will help restore the earth
    15. 15. Alumni Participation • Michael Mastrandrea1992: spoke to middle school students about his global warming research     • Jon Kaye 1985: oceanographer, marine microbiologist • Kiran Sridhar 2011: Started non-profit Waste No Food
    16. 16. Facilities and Infrastructure: Hillside Learning Complex • Award-winning gold-level LEED • Houses the central library, cafeteria, a 3,700 squarefoot design lab, classroom space, and an outdoor plaza • Estimated to use 70% less energy than a comparable school building of its size • Provides instructional platform
    17. 17. Facilities and Infrastructure: Hillside Learning Complex • It integrates green design principles throughout: – natural ventilation and cooling systems – sun control and filtered natural light – efficient irrigation and low flow plumbing fixtures – photovoltaic solar panels – drought-tolerant landscape design and living roof – selection of non-toxic and recycled building materials
    18. 18. Facilities and Infrastructure: Lower and Middle School • Reduced amount of water dedicated to landscape irrigation • Mansion water closets upgraded • Community garden
    19. 19. Facilities and Infrastructure: Upper School • Located in a transportation hub • Landscape design promotes re-introduction of local ecosystems • Natural ventilation and day-lighting strategies • Efficient mechanical systems • Energy-efficient construction and design
    20. 20. Expanding Possibilities The Nueva School | PreK–12 | Hillsborough • San Mateo
    21. 21. GROWING GREENER K - 8, 475 Students, El Cerrito, CA
    22. 22. What is CARROTMOB?
    23. 23. CARROTMOB + Prospect Sierra Take Emeryville by Storm!
    24. 24. Lasting Impact • Pizza Parlor Owner Buys New EnergySaving Refrigerator • Composting Training Program Begins at Public Market, Employing Urban Youth • New Composting Program Diverts 1 Ton of Garbage Away From Landfill Per Week = 52 Tons of Garbage NOT Going to Landfills Per Year!
    25. 25. Prospect Sierra’s CARROTMOB
    26. 26. Sustainability by Design San Domenico School Presented by: Cecily Stock, Head of School
    27. 27. In the Dominican spirit of Veritas (truth): We celebrate diversity, recognizing God's presence in ourselves and in all of creation. We recognize what it means to be human in a global community and respond with integrity to the needs and challenges of our time.
    28. 28. Resource Management
    29. 29. Healthy Systems
    30. 30. Context for Learning
    31. 31. Community Events Campus Projects Student Leadership
    32. 32. In the Global Community In the Local Community
    33. 33. Core Academics Ed u Innovative Teaching Practices Campus Operations Community ca tin g fo rS us ta in ab ilit y
    34. 34. "What if humans designed products and systems that celebrate an abundance of human creativity, culture and productivity? That are so intelligent and safe, our species leaves an ecological footprint to delight in, not lament?” -William McDonough
    35. 35. Resources Campus Facilities • Get students involved! Survey trash cans & recycling bins or graph energy and water use: • Community Resources –Local waste hauler, water district, energy provider, Green MBA Colleges (provide free audits & recommendations): –Green Schools Initiative, Alliance to Save Energy, Marin Organic, Safe Routes to School: -Track & monitor your usage (Energy Star Portfolio):
    36. 36. Resources Curriculum • Center for Ecoliteracy: • Cloud Institute: • Sustainable Schools Project: • Teens Turning Green: • Edible Schoolyard Project: • National Gardening Association: • LifeLab: • Facing the Future:
    37. 37. Overview of Urban  Founded in 1966  Independent, coeducational high school  375 students  30% of students receive financial aid totaling $2.6 million  32% students of color  “Learning extends beyond the classroom to instill in students a sense of mission and purpose as citizens of the larger community and world.”
    38. 38. Sustainability at Urban  Vision 2013: Creating a Sustainable Future adopted by Board in 2008  Overarching theme: School Sustainability with six areas of focus SUSTAINABILITY  Plan goals: achieve sustainable school operations and graduate eco-literate students
    39. 39. VISION 2017 Accessibility Financial Stability Diversity, Inclusion and Equity SUSTAINABILITY Education For the 21st Century Working at Urban Facilities 52
    40. 40. Vision 2013 Implementation Initiatives  Environmental Council comprising teachers, administrators and students created Fall 2008  Purpose: promote awareness, leadership and action around issues of environmental stewardship  Collected data and began using a sophisticated carbon calculator to measure the school’s carbon footprint  In Spring 2010, Council established a goal of achieving LEED EBOM rating
    41. 41. LEED EBOM  LEED Existing Building Operations and Maintenance aims to maximize efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts  Certifies that your building is actually operated, maintained and performing more sustainably than its peers  Students, teachers, staff and trustees worked collaboratively on certification making the school’s operations greener and more efficient
    42. 42. LEED EBOM (cont.)  Based on actual building operations and maintenance practices in:  Exterior building site maintenance  Water and energy use  Sustainable purchasing policies  Waste stream management  Ongoing indoor environmental quality  Environmentally preferred cleaning products and practices  Awarded LEED Platinum Certification for Existing Buildings Operation and Maintenance October 2012; first school building in US to receive designation
    43. 43. Green Team: Student Leadership  Student leadership group established in 2008-09; works with a faculty advisor  Focuses on making school operations more sustainable and more efficient; educates student body (videos, bulletin board posts, etc.)  Green Team accomplishments include:          Rechargeable battery program Low-flow plumbing fixtures Replaced all halogen lights with LED bulbs Compostable cups and utensils Increased sourcing of local and/or organic ingredients in cafeteria Urban as a CSA drop box point Assessment of cleaning supplies and other toxins on campus Refillable whiteboard markers Turning off unnecessary classroom lights
    44. 44. Green Team: Student Video
    45. 45. Environmental Sustainability in the Curriculum  Key initiative in Vision 2013  Goal: develop student understanding of basic concepts in ecology, sustainability and conservation; awareness of human impacts on environment; skills needed to play a leadership role in solving complex environmental problems  Prepare students to be knowledgeable, proactive and literate in sustainable and environmentally sound practices
    46. 46. Sustainability in the Curriculum  2008-10, school undertook a curricular review process focused on environmental sustainability  Developed new courses, including:  United States Environmental History, The Naturalist as Writer, UAS Environmental Science: Ecology, UAS Environmental Science: Physical Resources, Economics  New content added to existing courses specifically related to sustainability: Marin Biology, Geology, and Science 1 and 2
    47. 47. Outdoor Education Program  Self-selected trips include: Climbing Trip, Survival Skills, Pie Ranch, Cross Country Ski Trip, Sea Kayaking, Rafting  Mandatory grade level trips offer students and teachers opportunity to build class unity and foster responsibility through trail work and other outdoor activities  Nationally recognized service learning program; many environmentally focused
    48. 48. Questions? Mark Salkind, Head of School