Success story: Lake Washington School District
Number of schools in the district: 46
Began participating in the Green Schools Program: May 2005
Waste reduction and recycling
Average school recycling rate prior to participation: approximately 25 percent
Average school recycling rate after participation: approximately 34 percent
Cost savings: From September 2005 to June 2007, the district saved $71,000 – a 23 percent decrease in refuse costs – by expanding recycling and reducing garbage volumes.
- The King County Green Schools Program provided nearly 270 classroom recycling containers, 50 32-gallon recycling collection containers, and more than 20 dollies to assist custodians with recyclable materials collection.
- The Green Schools Program provided stickers listing what can and can’t be recycled in recycling containers.
- The Lake Washington School District and the City of Redmond also purchased recycling containers for district schools.
- Another simple but important action taken was to update the signage on outdoor recycling Dumpsters to correctly note what materials are acceptable. This is particularly important given custodian turnover and a constant need to educate staff about what is acceptable in the recycling program. Outdated and incorrect Dumpsters signs were often a cause of confusion.
- The district addressed illegal dumping issues at a number of schools by posting additional signage and installing gates to be closed after hours.
The district’s conservation efforts are guided by its Facility Resource Conservation Protocol that spells out policies for energy, water and general resource use in many school arenas, including computer use, kitchens and community use of school facilities.
- The district’s Green Schools Program energy conservation goal was a 7 percent reduction in energy. Impressively, the district decreased energy use by more than nine percent.
- Comparing the 2004-05 school year to the 2006-07 school year, the district reduced energy use by 5,700 BTU per square foot.
- The district actively maintains a database of energy consumption per school, then tailors assistance to schools with high energy-use footprints. An example of such assistance is the resource conservation manager’s work with a particular school to greatly decrease staff use of personal electrical devices such as fans and toasters.
- The district supported a solar power project at Redmond High School and installed solar power cells on 20 portable classroom rooftops.
- As part of the district’s implementation of the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol, designers incorporate natural daylight in the design of new schools that can reduce energy needs by as much as 25 percent in day lit areas.
- Water conserving toilets, urinals and faucets are specified as district standards, as are synthetic turf surfaces for new playfields.
- To support these efforts, the director of support services occasionally sends out messages to grounds crews reminding them to water less often when appropriate and to not water at all when possible.
- The district’s landscaping is moving toward drought tolerant plants.
- Non-irrigation water costs dropped by $30,000, or 19 percent, from 2004-05 to 2005-06. Irrigation costs dropped $38,000, or more than 30 percent, when comparing the 2004-05 and the 2006-07 school years.
King County Earth Heroes at School Awards were received by:
- Teacher Maggie Windus, Juanita Elementary School
- Roots and Shoots Club, Peter Kirk Elementary School
- Students Kirsten Minor, Taryn Grant, Pauline Lao, Lake Washington High School
- Environmental Program, Redmond High School
- Teachers Angie Laulainen and Karen Dunning and the Environmental Club, Rose Hill Junior High
- Teacher Marie Hartford, Henry David Thoreau Elementary School
“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in King County’s Green Schools Program. The program provides a very useful and valuable educational effort that also helps to create a better, more sustainable future.” – Chuck Collins, Resource Conservation Manager, July 2007
For more information about this district’s participation in the King County Green Schools Program, contact:
Chuck Collins, Resource Conservation Manager