Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Green Council Minutes #1: "Think Broadly, Act Comprehensively"

Green Council Meeting Minutes

I. Overview:
1. The blog
2. Green Schools Initiative Project. Jonna found this through the Head-Royce website (we love them!). The 4 pillars.
3. how to create the political will, culture of support
4. Dave Clerici is the new CFO. One of his top priorities is a comprehensive approach to sustainability.
5. we have a great opportunity right now to make changes since we are doing construction, will enable peripheral changes in other areas
a. building project, Ratcliff Architecture specifically Kit Ratcliff
6. certification, various options
7. other ways to reduce carbon footprint besides just solar panels, lots of room for improvement
8. students need somewhere to go in the administration to affect change, someone who will be receptive and who has the power to do things

1. getting rid of toxins (pesticides, cleaning products)
2. resource sustainability (where we need to focus)
a. increasing out efficiency
b. alternative energy sources
c. recycling
d. green building construction
3. green, healthy space (food, gardens)
4. education
- cross over between columns, holistic approach
- Steve’s grid:
~current status
~potential improvements

III. Certification
a. LEED certification is not a specific goal because of the associated costs - we'd rather use that money for other purposes, but open to the possibility.
b. Shosh Blachman knows about green business certification. You can get an audit for energy use, water, paper, etc. Checklist. Can involve APES class or other students.
c. is audit expensive? No. cost=labor time of getting the audit.
d. PG&E and Sodexo audits have already been conducted. They were not specifically focused on green things, but they identified areas where we can improve.
e. a checklist is online, can help us come up with priorities, figure out what we need to do.
f. Brian Figgins (sp?) is working on the building plans. He is interested in this.

IV. Smaller Solutions.
1. dry erase markers!
a. Annie’s millionth project. Refillable, organic, non-toxic, not expensive! Lisie/Linh are in charge of this.
2. Scrips program for school supplies. Binders, backpacks, notebooks, etc. Could purchase them via CPS website. Discount if we buy in bulk, could be a fundraiser
3. Compost: we want to get a better bin/get connected with the city of Oakland in terms of actually doing to compost. Will this mean exporting our compost system to off site?
a. Paper towel composting. Nick Browne! We need to organize it better/help him out.
4. Recommendations from the PG&E audit from 2 years ago.
a. We have motion sensor lights in most classrooms
b. We want to have better light bulbs in the gym. Steve doesn’t like this b/c it’s a pain to install them and they have to rent a cherry picker. The gym’s energy bill is over $17,000. Numbers: we use 300 KWhrs/yr and release 200,000 lbs of CO2!
c. water use: we have some low-flow toilets. Something about a brick inside the tank
5. cisterns
a. watch out b/c of construction, we don’t want to install them in places where there will be building
b. how about small movable buckets?
c. Our campus is well-situated for this.
6. Recycling.
a. Tran wants visibility and awareness! he wants beautiful bins that show we care. Dave came prepared with some pictures of said beautiful bins.
b. Dr. Cohen’s daughter made them when she went here, which was great, but maybe we are ready to move to the next level?
c. Complaints about the current system:
i. In the words of John: they’re hella ghetto.
ii. It’s hard to tell what bin is what, sometimes the lids aren’t on the right bins.
iii. The paper ones are gone
d. the scam of the paper system!
i. No systemic support for little blue bin classroom recycling. Why?
1. The big dumpster that we use for paper is already full from the larger green paper cans (some of which have now disappeared?)
2. Janitors don’t have time/aren’t paid to collect paper from the classrooms
e. MMLab. Room for efficiency? Yeah.
f. Dave has been approached by Civic Corps. They want to do our recycling for a fee
g. Something about Tori Lawrence, the Secretary of the Board of Trustees. She should be involved?
h. Recycling E-Waste. we did that last year, can occur once or twice/yr. Hopefully the company we use isn’t evil like this one that was exposéd on 60 Minutes (shout out to investigative journalism!)
i. Alameda County Association Computer Recycling (reuse over recycle)
ii. Cellphones, we were scammed! We need to find a better place to donate our used cellphones to.

V. Construction ideas
1. Heating/cooling systems in the new buildings. Annie’s geothermal heat pumps! Jonna says lets write a letter to Ratcliff! Annie has done research on getting this form of heating. It will cost $7,000 (not including drilling), but it will save a lot over time. Compare that with $4,000 for non-alternative heating.
2. Some have a prejudice/idea that green construction=$$$. Not necessarily true.
3. Opportunities for APES students to learn about things! Yes!
a. Would we have to replace the roof first?
i. Gym is 20 years old, roof is also 20 years old.
ii. This was exhaustively discussed during the studies done last year about solar panels. Jonna said that they found that the cost of removing the panels to replace the roof, and then reinstalling the panels is actually a small fraction of the cost. (5%)
iii. When I talked to Dean, he was concerned with this, wants to replace the roof before we install the panels. According to him, cost of taking off and putting back on = 10%.
b. The auditorium:
i. Dean told me that there would probably not be construction on the auditorium, instead a new performing arts are would be where the language bldgs are
ii. People mentioned that Dean had expressed concern with vandalism/burglary of panels for the auditorium roof because it is more accessible
c. Competition with other fundraisers
i. But! Panels save the school money, less money the school has to raise.
d. Investment benefits are weakening:
i. State tax rebates in decline bc more people are going solar so the rebates are split btwn more people.
ii. But the rebates were intending to support the production of the panels, the cost of purchasing them is getting lower
e. Jonna quotes Dan Kammen: it is the moral responsibility to install them if you can afford to. Socially the right thing to do, good for you.
f. In 1 year, we would get a return of $21,000+ in our electricity bill
g. Two options:
i. Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
ii. donations
h. Energy Advisory Group: started by Murray? Dave is in charge of it. Will have the first meeting in the next few weeks. It is intended to bring together people who are interested, expert, high-powered. There will be an investment portfolio put together...
i. Something other than Solar? Is there something more cost-effective? Not that we have seen so far, but we aren’t against other options if they are better. Dave thinks there might be more bang for our buck in other aspects. Steve says think broadly, act comprehensively.
j. Important to have a visible change soon.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Where to Begin.....

Welcome to the CPS Green Council. We are a group of students, parents, faculty, administrators, and other members of the community who share an interest and concern in making the actions and activities of our campus as consistent with a goal of environmental sustainability as possible. This is a big job, and our first step will need to be coming to a consensus regarding priorities. How should we be thinking about this?

Well, there are many options. For starters, according to the Green Schools Initiative Project....

The Four Pillars of a Green School are:

I. Strive to be Toxics Free
No pesticides, mold, heavy metals
Green building and cleaning supplies

II. Use Resources Sustainably
Energy efficiency and alternative energies
Green building design
Environmentally sound school supplies
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

III. Create a Green, Healthy Space
Green schoolyard and gardens
Rethink school lunch
No junk food, fast food, soda
Farm to school organic produce

IV. Teach, Learn, Engage
Environmental Education
Involve students in greening the school

From this point of view, we are doing well with respect to Pillar I, and making progress on Pillar IV. I think Pillar III might be a lost cause....thoughts? The place where I think we can and must make lots of progress is Pillar II. We have many opportunities in this category, but it's going to take hard work and creativity to take advantage of them.

Another way to focus our energies is to look specifically at our carbon footprint. One tool for doing so is a calculator designed for schools found at this site.

Please share your thoughts about what our priorities should be, and any resources you know of or stumble upon. If you would like be added as an author on this blog please let me know!