George School may make a huge impact on the world in many ways, but when it comes to our environmental footprint, we try to be as little noticed as possible. We’ve been reducing, reusing, and recycling since the 1970s, when we reused an entire building—our meetinghouse. Forty years later, we recycled much of our former sports center into a new one. In between, we built the Alternative Energy Center to harness solar and wind energy and, at the same time, create a powerful living laboratory to teach students.
Our newest construction projects, the Fitness and Athletics Center and the Mollie Dodd Anderson Library, were specifically designed to achieve LEED certification, but our beautiful older buildings have an environmental role to play, too. Renovating and retrofitting them to increase energy efficiency and environmental sensitivity is ongoing. Typical enhancements include sealed and insulated windows and doors, sensor-controlled lighting, low-emitting paints and glues, dual-flush toilets, water-saving showerheads, Energy Star appliances, improved heating systems, furnishings made from environmentally friendly materials, and non-toxic, reclaimed, and recycled flooring. On top of these improvements, we monitor energy usage to see where we can improve further.
Outside, with student help, we plant trees and rain gardens, which allow water to naturally reenter the ecosystem and the community to enjoy their natural beauty. Students also help maintain our green roofs, getting their hands dirty while getting an environmental education.
We are committed to being as paperless as is possible, and to recycling paper (along with plastic and cans) and printing on recycled-content paper when it isn’t. Green cleaning products are safer for both community and environment, and we eat and drink sustainably, too. With Terra, the student environmental club, leading the charge for change, George School banned the sale of bottled water on campus and installed filtered water-bottle filling stations.
In the time it took you to read this, a member of the George School community may have had another sustainable idea or implemented another sustainable improvement. When it comes to environmental efforts on campus, the only constant is growing greener.