How to Make Schools Environmentally Sustainable
Schools aren’t just educational institutions where children go to learn about science, literature, history, and other subjects. Instead, these are the places that shape the future of our society and planet.
Apart from academics, schools help inculcate the right values and morals in students and thus, play a key role in influencing their future. Considering that children spend more than 8 hours every day on their school premises, it has a significant impact on their behaviour and outlook.
That’s why it is imperative for schools to make their operations eco-friendly, minimize their carbon footprint, and raise awareness about environmental protection among students. The sooner students start learning green habits and practices, the higher their chances of becoming more conscious about the environment in the future.
The Environmental Impact of Schools
It’s worth noting here that educational institutions consume massive amounts of energy. In fact, K-12 school districts in the U.S. spend a cumulative $6 billion every year on energy. Also, nearly 30% of the school district’s energy consumption is unnecessary or inefficient.
Likewise, most schools end up generating a ton of waste. From single-use cutlery and glasses in canteens to arts and crafts supplies – it’s a plethora of non-biodegradable plastic waste. On top of that, there’s a huge amount of paper used to conduct exams and provide notes.
Thus, adopting eco-friendly practices in schools isn’t crucial from a moral standpoint only. It’s the need of the hour considering their high carbon footprint and environmental impact. The good news is that introducing eco-friendly initiatives in school hygiene isn’t a herculean task. All it takes is a change in the mindset and perspective of the authorities.
In this blog, we’ll discuss a few powerful techniques to turn your school into a harbinger of sustainability and environmental protection in the community. Let’s get started.
1. Focus on Energy Savings
Between classrooms, laboratories, libraries, canteens, and restrooms, every school ends up consuming a huge amount of energy. The worst part is that you can control or avoid much of this energy consumption.
Simple initiatives, such as asking students and teachers to turn off the lights in their classroom when they’re going out for lunch, can have a big impact. But you can’t always count on them to follow through. That’s why it is important to install sensors for lights and fans so that they’ll automatically turn-off when a room is empty.
Also, replacing traditional light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs can further reduce electricity consumption. You could take things up a notch by utilizing renewable energy, such as wind and solar power. Apart from maximizing energy savings, you could even supply excess power to the grid.
2. Optimize Power Backup
If you’re running a school, chances are you’re already using some type of fuel-based generator for power backup. The unfortunate part is that most traditional generators use diesel or gasoline, which are non-renewable fossil fuels. Also, they emit a wide array of pollutants and greenhouse gases.
Nevertheless, you can’t get rid of a generator from your school’s premises. Instead, you need to ensure that it’s well-maintained and fuel-efficient. To begin with, make sure you get a high-quality generator from a trusted and reliable supplier, such as Bellwood Rewinds.
Also, check with the manufacturer about warranty and maintenance costs. Alternatively, you could consider switching to eco-friendly options, such as natural gas generators or biomass generators.
3. Minimize Paper Use
Paper is one of the most common wastes produced in schools. From notes and task sheets to question papers and assignments – you’re likely using paper for various purposes. Needless to say, this could amplify your school’s carbon footprint and environmental impact.
The good news is that you can utilize modern technology to cut down paper use or even eliminate it altogether. Considering that today’s students are tech-savvy, teachers could easily email notes and question papers to them. Likewise, you can ask them to submit any assignments, essays, and other projects via email.
Also, you could consider developing the infrastructure to conduct online tests. While it’ll involve an upfront investment, it’s going to be cost-effective in the long run. With online learning becoming the norm across school districts, it’s high time you utilizing the latest tech innovations to facilitate teachers and students.
4. Manage Food Waste
If your school has an on-site cafeteria, it’s going to end up with some excess food every day. Collaborate with a local NGO that can take the surplus food and send it to the needy. Share these initiatives with students to generate awareness about food shortages and their impact on the environment.
Also, preparing students’ meals and snacks could result in more food waste, in the form of vegetable peels and scrapings. The good news is that this waste is biodegradable. Try composting the waste and use it for an on-site garden.
Are you taking any other steps to make your school more eco-friendly? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.