EUSD’s Board of Trustees has identified Environmental Stewardship as one of four key Pillars of Distinction that guide the district’s goals. In order to meet these sustainability goals, School Superintendent Timothy Baird formed a district Green Team in 2009 comprised of interested parents, staff and community members.
Since that time, the Green Team and EUSD’s environmental consultants have been working together to reduce the district’s carbon footprint through facility upgrades, behavioral changes and environmental education programs. These GREEN INITIATIVES work in tandem with another of the district’s key Pillars of Distinction, a Comprehensive Health and Wellness Program, and were made possible in part with funds from Proposition P.
Please check out EUSD’s Environmental Consultants, BCK Programs, LLC.
The school district has invested in a chemical-free cleaning system that uses regular tap water and zaps it with an electrical charge to create liquid ozone, a powerful cleaning agent that kills germs as effectively as bleach and other chemical disinfectants without any of the harmful side effects. This green cleaning system eliminates the need for toxic cleaners, saves money and reduces waste.
Each school campus at EUSD now has daylighting devices (Solatubes) installed to allow natural light into the classrooms through protected tubes in the ceiling. So much light is allowed in using this method that there is often no need to turn on the electric lights. Research shows that use of these devices, called daylighting, increases students’ overall test scores, improves moods and increases mental alertness. Daylighting also saves the school district money by reducing the energy demand of traditional lighting.
In addition to the many garden spaces at each EUSD school, the district is also home to the nation’s first certified organic school farm. EUSD’s Farm Lab DREAMS Campus is an innovative indoor and outdoor educational campus for all students in the Encinitas Union School District. Ocean Knoll utilizes its one acre farm space to fortify the school’s International Baccalaureate curriculum. Paul Ecke has transformed most corners of green space on the campus into farming experiments and hosts a weekend farmer’s market every Sunday.
The EUSD staff and its innovative teachers work alongside their environmental consultants at BCK Programs to offer numerous environmental education opportunities to the students at each EUSD school. Learning experiences in environmental stewardship include water and energy conservation, waste diversion, litter prevention, composting, environmental advocacy and the nationally recognized SWPPP Internship Program.
High Efficiency Hand Dryers
EUSD has installed high efficiency hand dryers in all student bathrooms, drastically reducing our consumption of paper towels on site. Replacing paper towels with hand dryers saves money and decreases our environmental impact by saving custodial labor time used to empty bathroom bins and unclog toilets, reducing waste going to the landfill and reducing the price of each hand dry to 1/20th the cost of using paper towels.
All EUSD schools have installed Hydration Stations for filling and refilling water bottles with filtered water. These stations encourage the use of refillable water bottles instead of single-use plastic bottles. By filling up reusable water bottles at our school’s hydration stations we are not only giving our body the most perfect form of refreshment, we are also helping to reduce landfill waste, ocean pollution, and our carbon footprint.
We have installed rainwater collection barrels at all of our school sites in an effort to conserve water and decrease runoff pollution. The collected water is stored and used as needed for irrigation in non-rain periods or as an educational tool for our school community. Rainwater is a renewable, sustainable, high quality water source. In addition, collecting water during storm events reduces flow speed which, in turn, reduces runoff into the storm drain keeping the ocean cleaner.
School Gardens and Orchards
All nine EUSD schools maintain at least one garden and several have orchards. These powerful environmental education tools provide a hands-on opportunity for students to learn the valuable skill of growing food, as well as fostering key values of teamwork and patience. Additionally, students engaged in growing edible plants are more willing to taste foods, exposing them to choices.
Solar Powered Schools
EUSD completed installing solar panels at all nine elementary schools in the summer of 2016. The panels are expected to cut the district’s energy consumption by nearly 80% and save over $20 million dollars in future energy costs. In addition to students learning about power generated from a clean burning, abundant and renewable energy source like the sun, students are also exposed to the science and engineering behind the photovoltaic panels and inverter.
Waste Diversion and Food Scrap Composting
In order to reduce landfill waste, facilitate composting, and encourage lunchtime recycling, EUSD developed the SCRAP Cart (Separate, Compost, Reduce And Protect). The SCRAP Cart is used to teach students how to properly sort their lunchtime waste for composting, recycling and landfill. Since the introduction of the carts in 2012, lunchtime waste has been reduced at each school by over 80% saving the school district over $40,000 every year.
As part of the district’s lunchtime waste management program, every EUSD campus is outfitted with large composting worm bins. Students learn the science of decomposition, while they divert food from their school’s waste stream and turn it into a valuable garden amendment. Composting works in tandem with the school gardens reducing or even eliminating the need for fertilizer and reducing watering needs.
Walk to School Programs and Idle-Free Zones
We encourage walking and biking to school in our communities as an alternative to driving. Physical activity in the morning is known to improve academic performance, creativity and focus and to reduce student stress. In addition, incorporating physical activity into a child’s daily routine is a good place to start fighting skyrocketing childhood obesity rates.
We protect the air around our schools by creating Idle-Free Zones at all of our schools to protect students from toxic pollutants released by cars idling near schools at drop off and pick up. Car idling contributes to health issues, contributes to smog and climate change, uses more gasoline than restarting your car, harms your engine and exhaust system, and increases vehicle maintenance costs.
Litter Busters at Ocean Knoll
EUSD's Award Winning SCRAP Cart
We welcome all of our parents and community members to share in our District’s goal to become a model for children nationwide in respecting and protecting the world we live in. If you would like to get involved or have an idea you would like to share, please contact our Green Team.