HISD Launches District-wide ‘Green School’ Challenge
to Reduce Resource Consumption and Increase Recycling
New initiative to reduce energy consumption, water usage and recycle waste
The Houston Independent School District is kicking off a new initiative, The Green School Challenge, on Wednesday, December 14 at 10 a.m. at Berry Elementary School, 2310 Berry. The challenge is part of HISD’s effort to further cut energy and water consumption.
“We are very excited to launch this initiative,” said HISD Superintendent Terry Grier. “Just recently President Obama recognized our efforts for conserving energy and this is just one of many ways we are committed to continue leading by example in our conservation efforts.”
The Green School Challenge is a friendly school competition designed to promote long-term behavioral changes, create awareness, reduce energy consumption and water usage, and to increase single-stream recycling of waste.
“We believe that taking simple steps in the way we operate our schools will result in significant savings for the district,” said Dr. Gavin Dillingham, HISD’s energy manager. “These are savings that can be used to further improve our schools.”
This challenge encourages every school to build its own ‘Green Team’ comprised of students, staff and administrators and develop a program that is specific to the characteristics of each school.
“This is going to be an exciting challenge for all the students and staff,” said Leo Bobadilla, HISD’s chief operating officer. “We’re confident they will be motivated as they begin to see how simple steps in the classroom and offices can result in tremendous savings.”
HISD’s Energy and Sustainability Division is providing all participating schools a website with audit tools and educational materials to help set up the competition in their school, including how-to videos and the schools’ current energy consumption and recycling baseline.
“We will provide guidance and support along the way, as well as year-end recognition and incentives to schools that have taken the steps and successfully competed in the Challenge,” said Dillingham.
All throughout this year, the district has rolled out a variety of energy saving initiatives. Since the start of 2011, HISD has saved close to $1 million in energy costs by installing more energy efficient equipment, switching to four-day work weeks during the summer and implementing holiday energy saving initiatives.
In addition, HISD is committed to saving energy and resources through curriculum links, building new facilities to LEED Silver (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and by investing in energy efficient retrofit products that save both money and energy. Since January, the district has saved 13.5 million kilowatt hours (kWh), enough energy to power 13 elementary schools for an entire summer.
Berry Elementary is one of HISD’s LEED Silver buildings with many energy saving and eco-friendly features. Tours of this campus will be available for media after the press conference.