In Hopewell Valley, lessons about global responsibility are not merely academic. Where it can, the district is working to minimize its carbon footprint – in Earth-friendly design and construction of new buildings, in energy-efficient system retrofits of its historic schoolhouses, in its use of high-performing, green cleaning products, and HEPA-rated vacuum cleaners and in paperless communications.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems in place at Stony Brook Elementary and Timberlane Middle School are proven energy savers, reducing our usage by as much as 30%. Electricity-generating solar panels atop Timberlane, Bear Tavern Elementary, and Central High School are helping us lower our power needs further, as well as generating revenue in the form of credits and rental fees. Heat recovery units, installed district-wide, are a leading-edge technology and a particular advantage at our 1920s-era schools, which are uniquely energy-inefficient. Central High School lighting has been changed to LED further reducing our energy use. Replacement windows are double-paned for optimal efficiency. We use paints, finishes and cleaning products low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ensure that composite wood products contain formaldehyde-free adhesives. The district's green cleaning policy has helped us to further reduce the number of chemicals in our schools, we are significantly improving indoor air quality and enhancing our students’ learning environment.
The district has adopted a green cleaning policy. We use only third-party certified green cleaning products. We are continuing to search for safer products. We no longer use caustic floor strippers! Our floor finishes are green seal certified and contain no heavy metals. Our floor scrubbers use Orbio technology which transforms plain water to effectively clean without the use of chemicals.
Taken together, these steps are not merely saving energy and reducing costs. They present on-site learning opportunities for students and demonstrate that sustainable practices do matter. Most importantly, they inspire.