Enhanced Environmental Awareness
First and foremost we want to continue to remind all staff and students on a regular basis of the District's ongoing recycling program. This program currently includes the commingled collection of paper, cardboard, plastics and glass which is currently handled by our waste management contractor, Waste Management Inc. We also want to ensure that there is an adequate number of recycling containers in each school. Recycling containers have been distributed throughout the District previously but we have been made aware of some areas where additional recycling containers could be placed to improve the collection of recycled materials. Finally, we have implemented a program to collect and recycle all printer cartridges and batteries.
Beginning in 2010/2011 the custodial cleaning and paper supplies, have been specified as Green-certified cleaning and paper products that are to be used by the District as part of the District's cleaning program. We have found that this program will be very beneficial not only in minimizing the types of chemicals used in the District but also help to address the cost increases with non-green chemicals. The Custodial Department will also continue their work on investigating the use of other green cleaining products as they become available.
Energy Management and Conservation
The committee looked at the current operations of the District as established by the Energy Conservation and Management Plan that was implemented in January of 2005. We found that this program has been beneficial in helping to control costs for the operation of the Dstrict's costs and use of energy thoughout the District. However, there are some opportunities that we believe can be considered for continued improvement in the District's control of energy usage and conservation.
Continue to retrofit older fluorescent lighting, pole lighting and exit fixtures to newer energy efficient technology such as LED lighting, high efficient fluorescent lights, etc.;
Utilize 28 watt light tubes in lieu of 32 watt light tubes in the existing T-8 light fixtures;
Continue to remind staff, custodians & students to turn off the lights in areas that are not occupied;
Utilize motion sensors for the control of the light fixtures in all areas that would not impact the use of the space such as, restrooms, storage rooms, equipment rooms, etc.;
Purchase only Energy Star rated products in all areas that they are available;
Attempt to secure the funding to upgrade and replace the original mechanical equipment, lighting and other systems at Bradford Woods Elementary School, Marshall Elementary School and Marshall Middle School and the fluorescent lighting at North Allegheny Intermediate High School;
Secured the funding to retain a consultant to perform an Energy Audit of all of the District buildings to identify the potential energy conservation measures that should be considered; and
Investigate the potential to utilize Act 129 funding to help support the costs to perform energy efficiency improvements.
Reduce Paper Usage
The potential for the reduction of paper usage continues to be available in various areas throughout the District. Below are the recommendations the Committee has made:
Utilize the new District's Web Site to increase electronic communications with the parents;
Provide the parents with the opportunity to receive correspondence and other information from the school District electronically. Currently, Mrs. Joy Ed, the Director of the Communications and Public Relations Department, is working on setting up a process and procedure for implementation in the 2010/2011 school year which will allow elementary school parents to receive normal Thursday envelope information via electronic means. The developments of the process and procedures for this progam are taking place with the elementary school principals and the Communications and Public Relations Department and it is anticipated that this program will be implemented in the fall of 2010;
Eliminate the use of colored paper for forms and other materials where possible. The Business Office is currently reviewing the opportunities to reduce color paper usage by limiting the requirements for color paper on certain forms;
Utilize two sided copying for all materials where possible. This program is being implemented currently by the Xerox Copy Center and we will be working with the Building Administration and the staff at all of the District's facilities to attempt to increase the use of two-sided copying in all building where possible;
Continue the investigation of implementing a program to have paperless School Board meetings. Currently the Director of Assets, Transportation and Technology is working to review the costs associated with the implementation of this program for further consideration;
Closely monitor the paper usage of the staff to ensure that they are only using paper for required information. This will be communicated to the Building Administrators as part of the ongoing discussions with regards to the reduction of paper usage at the building level;
Utilize the proposed new Financial Software system to reduce or eliminate the use of paper purchase orders, pay checks, invoicing, etc. Currently, the final selection of the software system has not been completed but the vendors that have been considered all offer some capabilities of utilizing increased electronic means for the processing of various financial and student information; and
Reserach the cost and feasibilty of implementing an electronic record storage system. This work will involve analsysis and input from the Information and Technology Department on what the best means to perform this type of electronic record storage would be. A greater analyses by the Information and Technology Department will be required before a recommendation can be provided with regards to the feasibility, viabiltiy and cost implications of this type of program.
Food Service Operations
We have requested that the food service contractor, Metz & Associates, continue to utilize locally grown products, fruit, etc. as part of the cafeteria operations. They are currently attempting to utilize locally grown and raised in-season materials wherever possible. We are also working with the Department of Assets, Transportation and Technology along with the Food Service contractor, Metz & Associates to research the cost for the potential replacement of the disposable Styrofoam plates with reusable trays for the elementary schools. This has resulted in the installation of a dishwasher at McKnight Elementary School to allow us to eleiminnate teh use of Strofoam trays and disposable utensils at this school. We have also requested that Metz & Assoociates investigate the potential costs associated with changing from the current cardboard milk containers to a recyclable plastic milk container for use throughout the District. These two initiatives will involve some additional analyses and a future determination with regards to changes in the costs of the lunch program that may be required to support these initiatives.
Future Construction/Renovation Projects
The Committee would recommend that the District attempt to achieve a minimum of a Silver Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification for any future large constuction and/or renovation projects. This work would be factored in for potentially major renovations at older facilities such as Bradford Woods Elementary School, Marshall Elementary School and Marshall Middle School. We have noted as part of our review of energy utilization in the District that energy usage, particularly at Bradford Woods Elementary School , is higher than at comparable schools in the district, so the potential for energy improvements at those facilities appears to be significant based on the age of the equipment which was intalled in 1992 and 1993, and the improvements in energy efficiency that have occurred in mechanical equipment, lighting, etc., since that time.
Buses and Vehicles
There is current work being done on the development of potential changes in the power systems for buses. Currently there is research and testing being done on hybrid buses that could possibly be utilized in the future. However, at this time the technology and systems have not been refined enough to implement a plan to begin to purchase that type of equipment. However, the District, in conjunctin with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, is going to be utilizing biodiesel fuel as part of the contract for diesel supply for the 2010'/2011 school year. Currenlty the proposal is to utilize a two percent biodiesel fuel mixture during the 2010/2011 school year. There are some issues with regards to the capability of this type of fuel to work in the cold temperatures so it may not be able to be used year round, but the Transportation Department will be evaluating the use of this type of fuel at all times.
We also will continue to look for opportunities to use hybrid type power supply systems for support vehicles where possible. The Transportation Department has researched the potential for the utilizaiton of propane-powered vehicles. However there is a large upfront cost to purchase and install the necessasry fueling system to utilize propane fuel and the cost to retrofit the existing fleet would be significant to convert from diesel to propane.
As part of the current Science Department curriculum review process, the Committee was able to discuss potential opportunities for some changes that are being considered in the educational programs for the District students K-12 to improve their environmental awareness. First and foremost, we discussed ways for increasing the amount of instructional time for the students on the awareness of environmental issues at all grade levels. There has been some work done as part of the Science Department curriculum review to improve the instruction of the students on environmental awareness in various grade levels throughout the District. The final modificaitons to the curriculum will be included as part of the recommendation of the Science Department curriculum review.
The Committee has also recommended that a portion of the environmental activities and experiences for the fifth grade students who participate in the Camp Kon-O-Kwee program be standardized. Currently there are approximately ten various activities of different types and experiences that are available for the fifth grade students who participate in the Camp Kon-O-Kwee program. After discussing the various programs available, the Committee is recommending that a portion of the environmental activities, potentially four, be standardized for all schools so that the students who move on to the middle school level throughout the District are exposed to similar experiences for a portion of their activities at Camp Kon-O-Kwee. This will ensure that studenst have shared experiences as part of this program and are better prepared to address environmental issues as they move into middle school.
The Committee also is recommending that the District investigate opportunities to increase hands on environmental activities for the students at their schools or at other locations such as North Park, Potters Park, Beechwood Farms, etc. this would involve potential field trip programs to provide for hands on learining at these locations that are in close proximity to the District.
Finally, the District should continue to explore opportunities for partnerships with businesses and the community on ways to increase the environmental awareness of the students. This would include the continued participation in various contests that are sponsored by organizations and businesses that emphasize environmental issues. The district should also contine to tilize outside grants, North Allegheny Foundation grants and other funding opportunities to implement environmental activities throughout the District.