“Green” a school, make a difference

I attended an event this week sponsored by the Grainger (Lake Forest, IL) organization. One of the seminars involved discussion of work done to inject “green” into the facilities operated by the Scottsdale (AZ) Unified School District. The overall effort involved the usual lighting changes, white roofs, better HVAC, recycling, etc. While telling the story, the presenter offered some rather startling general statistics about the savings that can be realized when schools implement “green” policies. According to the presenter,  when compared with conventional education facilities, green schools:

  • use 50% less energy
  • use 32% less water
  • produce 74% less solid waste

Note that the terms conventional schools and green schools involve use of some rather broad brushes, but, by any definition, those are some significant numbers. My personal test for these kinds of loose statements is, if we cut the numbers in half, are we still talking about making a significant difference? In this case, the answer is yes. The trick to realizing these kinds of savings is to get enough money into the hands of school districts and then to effectively spend that money.—Gary L. Parr


  1. In addition to the improved efficiencies, one simple change to reduce GHG emissions and lower the carbon footprint is to switch the boiler fuel from diesel/fuel oil over to a biofuel. One such biofuel (New Generation Biofuels) is a renewable biofuel (not biodiesel). The value is simple: 45% lower NOx and and virtually no Sulphur. Fuel switching is easy, run out existing fuel oil and refill with NGB biofuel, its that simple.
    Case studies available.

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