King County Green Schools Program honors two schools from Bothell for resource conservation

Northshore School District - Contributed Art
Northshore School District
— image credit: Contributed Art

Schools and even entire school districts are cutting waste, conserving resources, and reducing costs through the King County Green Schools Program.

“This month we are recognizing 34 schools, from Auburn to Kirkland, that are leading their school communities toward sustainability,” said Dale Alekel, program manager. “With assistance from the County’s Green Schools Program, schools and districts are embracing waste reduction, recycling, and other conservation actions.”

Among those schools are two schools in Kirkland.

The King County Green Schools Program has three levels that involve students and staff in learning about and practicing natural resource conservation. Alekel said most schools cut operating expenses by initiating waste reduction and recycling practices and reducing energy and water use.

For example, the Issaquah School District is using 5.4 percent less energy now than it did in 2000-01, even though it has added 25 percent more square footage in new and renovated school facilities. Overall, the district has saved about $7 million on utility bills by reducing waste disposal volumes and consumption of energy and water.

“All Issaquah School District schools participate in the King County Green Schools Program because it has helped our students and staff to reduce waste, recycle, and conserve other resources such as energy and water,” said Issaquah School District resource conservation manager John Macartney. “Compostable materials collection also has been established in nearly all our schools, with help from the City of Issaquah and King County, and that has added to the overall culture of conservation throughout the school district.”

The program has served a growing number of schools each year, from 100 schools participating in 2009-10 to 201 schools participating in the 2013-14 school year. The program also assists school districts, with 12 districts currently participating.

Thirteen schools completed Level One of the program this spring by expanding recycling practices and focusing on waste reduction strategies such as decreasing paper use.

Another 10 schools completed Level Two by engaging in energy conservation practices, such as turning off lights in unoccupied rooms and setting thermostats at 68-70 degrees, while 11 schools completed Level Three by learning about and engaging in water conservation and pollution prevention actions.

To date, 186 schools throughout King County have been recognized as Level One Green Schools. Of those schools, 108 have been recognized as Level Two Green Schools and 66 as Level Three Green Schools.

Frank Love Elementary School was named Level One - Waste Reduction and Recycling (WRR). These schools maintained their Level One waste reduction and recycling practices and educated their school communities on how to conserve energy.

Secondary Academy for Success was named a Level Two - Energy Conservation and Waste Reduction and Recycling (WRR).

King County Green Schools Program provides hands-on assistance, recycling containers and signs, a website with helpful tools and resources, and the ongoing support schools and districts need to engage students and staff in conservation actions.

King County also offers support for student green teams, an elementary school assembly program, and classroom workshops for grades 1–12 that teach students about conservation.

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