BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Berkeley Heights Public Schools have launched and implemented numerous sustainability efforts in buildings throughout the school district, according to Donna Felezzola, School Business Administrator/Board Secretary.
The district has made changes to the schedules for heating and air conditioning all school buildings; this includes staggering the start time of equipment to reduce high loads during peak energy-use periods. Furthermore, the use of heating and cooling is being limited to only those areas of the buildings which are being used at any given time.
Mrs. Felezzola indicated that staff members have been adjusting their routines: turning off the lights when no one is in a particular room and reducing the use of corridor lighting to alternating fixtures. In addition, the district’s maintenance staff has begun replacing lights with more energy-efficient fixtures and installing motion sensors where appropriate. These measures have resulted in a savings of approximately $588,000 over a five-year period, reducing district-wide energy costs by more than half.
Staff members and students have engaged in numerous sustainability-related activities, including the posting of signs and distribution of handouts as part of a “no idling campaign,” as well as comprehensive recycling efforts at all schools.
At Governor Livingston High School, students ran a recycling campaign for print cartridges, cell phones, iPads and iPods, all of which helped raise funds to support Project Graduation. Meanwhile, Columbia Middle School students presented a “Green Art Show” featuring recycled materials.
The Mountain Park School Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) donated an attachment for the water fountain that enables students to refill their water bottles, thereby reducing the need for one-use plastic bottles. In addition, students in Mountain Park Grade 5 Science classes annually conduct a light/heat/energy study throughout the school building and make recommendations regarding possible ways to conserve energy. Finally, at William Woodruff School, students have formed the “Green Team,” which monitors the use of utilities in the school and provides suggestions regarding energy conservation; while the Woodruff Garden Club plants vegetables on the school grounds which are later donated to local food banks.
All of these initiatives and activities provide a dynamic illustration of the Berkeley Heights School District’s commitment to sustainability, conservation, and responsible citizenship.