This is a good example of a community system that led to a sustainable balance in their local schools. Transportation, energy use, work/life schedules, and innovative management strategy have led to significant recovery of investment $s.
From recycling to HVAC control to bus routes, system finds ways to save energy, money
CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — Every Thursday afternoon, Taylor Willard, 11, and Colton Waggoner, 12, pick up the black recycling container in the front of Burt Elementary and collect the school’s recycled paper.
Blue burlap bags reading “Once is not enough. Recycle” sit in each of the 25 classrooms at Burt. More than students and all faculty and staff recycle the paper, and the proceeds come back to the school for supplies.
Principal Diana Hara said recycling was previously part of the school’s culture, but it fizzled out. This year, Burt began recycling paper again as part of the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System’s Go Green Initiative.
“It’s become embedded in us,” Hara said. “We feel it’s a natural fit with parts of our curriculum. It’s a great way to use taxpayer dollars wisely.”
Shedrich Webster, CMCSS operations foreman, said Burt is a shining example of a school working to promote the initiative. Energy consumption there is down 15 percent from last year around the same time. Webster hopes to place a recycling bin on Burt’s campus to encourage community involvement in recycling.
Burt is just one of the making strides. Earlier this month, the school system as a whole officially became Clarksville-Montgomery County Green-Certified.
“We are pleased to see the school system continue to seek ways to minimize their environmental footprint and at the same time maximize efficiencies where possible,” said Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers in a news release.
Saving energy, saving money
For the past three years, the system has delved into a smart energy campaign to go green and bring all its facilities under a cost-efficient plan.
“It started when our facilities operations (employees) went to a conference to keep up with accreditation, and there was a big push for energy maintenance programs,” said Damian Maloney, assistant manager for plant facilities. “We had a scattered approach. Some schools were doing recycling, but we had nothing systemwide. We came up with an energy policy to save money for taxpayers.”