In our Sustainability Mission Statement, Deerfield Academy pledges to minimize the use of non-renewable resources, and operate in a way to minimize our contributions to harmful climate change and other global environmental challenges.
Our highest priority item in the Sustainability Action Plan is the creation of a Climate Action Plan that lays out a path to rapidly reduce Academy greenhouse gas emissions. During the 2013-14 school year, we are undertaking a campus-wide energy use audit to quantify potential energy savings due to various retrofits of our buildings, and are considering renewable energy generation options as we build our campus facilities master plan. Work on the Climate Action Plan will begin after the completion of these documents, to allow the creation of a more informed Climate Action Plan.
Even without a formal Climate Action Plan, DA has taken significant steps to shrink our carbon footprint and in fact has reduced campus greenhouse gas emissions by 26% from 2005 to 2013. We have reduced our carbon footprint through a variety of energy efficiency upgrades, switching from fuel oil to natural gas for heating whenever possible, and reductions in energy demand due to behavioral changes.
Read on to see a few examples of ways we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions.
Not all of these efforts are counted in our current greenhouse gas inventory, but they are all matter to the planet.
- Electricity consumption is down 14% from 2005-2013 while increasing building square footage. Some examples of how this was done include:
- Lighting upgrades across campus
- New Chiller for Hockey Rink (42% electricity savings over old system)
- Web-based energy management system can remotely control lights and ventilation in many buildings
- We use Energy Star appliances wherever possible
- Heating – we have switched to natural gas for our heating when possible. Natural gas creates 27% less greenhouse gas emissions than fuel oil for the same amount of heat.
- Insulation – we have replaced over 1000 dormitory windows with higher-efficiency models which will improve student comfort and save heating costs.
- No Idling – we have aggressively enforced a campus no idling policy, which improves air quality for our campus community and also reduces greenhouse gas emissions from fuel burned while idling.
- As part of our Think 80|20 program, we compost all pre- and post-meal food waste in the dining hall, capture compostable to-go packaging in our café’s, and are experimenting with expanding additional compost options such as collecting pizza boxes from dorms and food waste from faculty apartments. Composting biodegradable material instead of landfilling it reduces methane production in landfills, and also creates a valuable fertilizer.
- We have three solar energy systems on campus in 2014: a 20kw photovoltaic array on the Koch Center, a 16 kw photovoltaic array on the New Dorm, and solar hot water heating system for the New Dorm. We are exploring options to dramatically expand our solar capacity.
- Education – our participation in the Green Cup Energy challenge is emblematic of our efforts to educate the campus community on the importance of energy conservation. When compared to the 2011-13 average use during Green Cup, in 2014 we used almost 10% less electricity in the dorms and classrooms during the month-long challenge, saving over $2400 worth of electricity, and this was entirely due to behavioral changes. Track our energy use in near real-time on the campus energy dashboard.
- Public printers on campus use 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper, and we are push towards reducing paper use across campus. Recycled paper creates about half as many greenhouse gas emissions as virgin paper.