PAUSD's Sustainability Program is based on the tenants of the U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools Whole-School Sustainability Framework. The program is centered around three interdependent principles: organizational culture, physical place, and educational program. PAUSD's sustainability initiatives are informed by collaboration among District leadership, staff, students, parents, and the broader community.
Since 2011, PAUSD has run a robust energy conservation program. Through this program, the District has endeavored to reduce consumption of electricity, natural gas, and water. To date, PAUSD has achieved nearly 20% reduction across these utilities, which, over the entire program, has helped avoid over $3.8 million in utility spending. This program is based on behavior change; in other words, no direct capital investment has been necessary to achieve this level of energy conservation. The energy conservation commitment of PAUSD is backed in school board policy. Conserving energy is considered a responsibility of every member of our district's community.
PAUSD operates a five-site solar energy portfolio, including both ground mounted and rooftop arrays. The sites currently generating solar energy are Palo Alto High School, Ellen Fletcher Middle School, J.L. Stanford Middle School, Nixon Elementary School, and Escondido Elementary School. The total portfolio system size is 1.37 megawatts.
Since 2005, the City of Palo Alto has been working toward achieving zero waste in the community by the year 2021.
Zero waste is a system in which no waste is burned or buried. This, however, means much more than the 3 R’s of reducing, reusing, and recycling. Zero waste seeks to design “waste” entirely out of the flow of resources in society by designing products to minimize waste, creating incentives to encourage sustainable business practices, and building community collaboration.
Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, PAUSD and City of Palo Alto entered an innovative collaboration to promote the concept of zero waste across PAUSD's school campuses. This program is jointly managed with the District and the City.
The City provided initial Champion training and ongoing support and education to each champion. Participating schools have the benefit of an onsite employee to oversee zero waste efforts at the site level.
Do not hesitate to reach out to your site's Champion for help with zero waste issues!
Contact Kay Shanda, Environmental Outreach Coordinator at Greenwaste, if you are interested in filling an empty Champion position at your site.