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System-wide Green Activities and Awards
In addition to ensuring capital improvements are energy efficient and earth-friendly, ACPS has implemented and is in the process of implementing numerous complementary activities that address climate management and water quality. ACPS recycles at all of its schools, to include commercial composting. In the fall of 2009 ACPS replaced polystyrene trays with paper, compostable “boats” for breakfast service, saving approximately $7,000 and preventing nearly 500,000 trays from being incinerated. ACPS is partnering with the City of Alexandria in the development and implementation of a green roof at Cora Kelly Elementary School as a component of the Four Mile Run Restoration Project, funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Additionally, plans are underway to begin an UltraUrban Best Management Practices (BMP) project for storm water management at Charles Barrett Elementary School. The ACPS Facilities office has identified an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Coordinator and utilizes the EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools to improve indoor air quality.
Academically, Learning Gardens in 13 schools feature different themes and are utilized to teach students about habitats, and to nurture the living things within them. Each garden also teaches aspects of Virginia’s Standards of Learning. High school students at T.C. Williams High School built a solar house in 2007 in a Building Trades course. Additionally, ACPS supports a Green Apprenticeship program in partnership with the Alexandria Court Services Unit, Alexandria JobLink, and the Alexandria Seaport Foundation. This after-school program provides basic job skills and green technology concepts to high school students at risk for delinquent and/or gang activity.
These ACPS activities are consistent with the City of Alexandria’s Eco-City Charter and Action Plan, which includes goals of educating the general public, and the city’s children, about environmental issues, to include greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the city recently passed legislation requiring that all future renovations and new construction of multi-family and municipal buildings must meet the requirements for LEED Silver certification.