These days, everyone talks about "going green." But that's not easy to do in a big city, on a campus built over forty years. The Center's Board of Trustees recently convened a "Going Green Task Force" to address the many challenges and opportunities on our urban campus.
In recent years, we have raised student awareness by weighing our trash, issuing reuseable beverage bottles, holding an annual display of everyday green products, and planting gardens on our roof!
Now we are researching ways to have a bigger impact. Ways such as reusing the water that we pump from the high water table on which our campus sits. And we're looking at the one roof without a playground to see if solar panels would work.
Going Green is here to stay. And so is this web page. So stop here often to find out how The Center takes seriously its responsibility to our environment. And while you're at it, give us your suggestions for greening CEE's campus.
The Center was recently recognized as an “Operations Report Card High Performance School” by the Sacramento-based Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS). We scored above 70 (out of 100) in all five categories on the Operations Report Card (ORC), a reporting program used to collect information about the performance of our campus buildings.
“The Center for Early Education has demonstrated that they are committed to maintaining a high quality learning environment that is healthy, energy efficient, well-lit, and comfortable,” said Bill Orr, Executive Director at CHPS. “By scoring a 70 or higher in all five categories The Center has set a precedent of what all existing schools should strive to become.”
The CHPS Operations Report Card is an online tool that enables schools and districts to measure the performance of their campus while identifying areas for improvement. The ORC provides schools with a simple, understandable score to communicate where their school stands on the spectrum of building performance. Schools submit information, measurements, and survey results, and are scored on a 100-point scale in indoor air quality, acoustics, lighting, thermal comfort, and energy efficiency.
While the distinction is cause for celebration, it’s really just the beginning of our efforts to improve sustainability. “The ORC establishes a baseline from which to measure future endeavors,” said Karen Illig, Director of Finance. “Now, when we complete a capital project, we can take new measurements and quantify the impact.”
“Right away, we recognized the ORC to be a valuable tool for our campus in both day-to-day operations and long term sustainability goals,” said Matt Riddle, Lead Facilities Manager. “Now our buildings have a report card, too! What a great thing for the kids to see and what a strong tool for our teachers to work into the curriculum.”
CHPS, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, works to make schools a better place to learn. For more information, visit www.chps.net.
Earth Hour is the world's largest single campaign for the planet. It calls for a collective display of commitment to a better future for our planet, and your participation only requires turning off your lights for an hour at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 31, 2012!
As its Saturday night time doesn't allow us to participate as a school, we will observe Earth Hour this Friday, March 30th, before we leave for spring break. From 2 to 3 p.m., we are encouraging our teachers, staff members and students to turn off lights, SmartBoards and other devices, spending that hour without consuming electricity. It may not be easy, but we can use that time instead to enjoy each other's company in the old-fashioned way.
This seemingly small act becomes something monumental when people come together to make it happen. Multiply the amount of electricity you will save by the number of family and friends who will participate alongside you. Imagine their friends and families turning their electricity off. Then think about all the people in other parts of the world sharing in this commitment. All of a sudden, this little thing you do is an important part of a great, wonderful movement.
We thank you in advance for your participation, whether it's on Friday at school or on Saturday at home. Always remember that your effort is never too small or insignificant.
Happy Earth Hour!
on Wednesday March 28, 2012 at 02:18PM
Tournesol Siteworks, manufacturers of the gateway's modular building components, recently posted some beautiful photos of the project. We're grateful for their help in making our vision a reality.
Anyone interested in the specific products used in the construction, or curious about installing a living wall in their own home or business, will find plenty of information on their site. The Center is just one of several examples currently featured on their Projects, People, and Products Blog.
Thanks, Tournesol. We're glad you love the result as much as we do!
You know what they say about first impressions... Not that CEE's previous first impressions were any bad, but don't you think the recently updated gate is just amazing? What a way to welcome people into our school AND incorporate our commitment to "going green"? Feast your eyes here today and in person the next time you visit the CEE campus!
on Tuesday January 17, 2012 at 10:07AM
This week you may have noticed what looks like a propeller standing atop campus. Rest assured: building B isn’t preparing to fly away!
It’s only our new weather station. Complete with a wind turbine, solar panel, and human-powered hand crank, it’s the next step toward greening the CEE.
A big part of going green is educating our students about energy use, so we’ve designed the station to be fully interactive. Easy-to-read gauges show the number of volts produced by the wind turbine and solar panel. When children turn the hand crank and see how many volts of energy they’re creating, it helps put into perspective just what kind of power we can harness from renewable resources!
Water conservation tool
The weather station will also play an integral role in determining how we use water on campus. “If it’s raining, the weather station will talk to the solar panels on our awnings, which send a signal to water valves, telling them not to turn on,” says Matt Riddle, Lead Facilities Manager at the CEE. “The solar panel also eliminates the need for a battery, which means that the weather station is self-sustaining.”
Energy produced by the wind turbine and solar panel spins corresponding discs (left). Color-coded conduits connect to voltage gauges (right) for easy reading. The human-powered hand crank is accessed from the opposite side of the tower.
Throughout the summer, CEE has been making improvements to our campus to make it even greener! When the students return to school early September, they will be able to see awesome things like Woolly Pockets lining our outside staircases and an Edible Garden in the EC yard! We will post some pictures on this blog soon so you can see for yourself all the work that went into becoming a more environmentally conscious school community!
CEE is a fun place and fun places sometimes have parties! C3 began using reusable plates, cups and napkins for their parties after realizing how much trash was being created. For your next party, join C3's efforts in going green by using your own reusable tableware!