Seattle Public Schools (SPS) has three Resource Conservation Specialists in the Facilities Operations Department. Their focus is to manage current utility expenses (electricity, natural gas, water/sewer, and solid waste) through low-cost/no-cost operating strategies. Seattle Public Schools includes over 9 million square feet of buildings, spends over $8,000,000 every year on utility bills, and uses enough electricity to power about 4,600 residential homes.
Our work builds on the District’s Natural Resources Conservation Policy H25.00, Natural Resources Conservation Procedures H25.01, Resolution 2006/2007-18 (Climate Change), and Resolution 2012/13-12 (Green Resolution). In addition, we report annual energy use to the City of Seattle using EnergyStar's Portfolio Manager and follow the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol for new buildings.
SPS District-wide 2015/16 conservation goals are to:
- Reduce energy use by 5%
- Reduce water use by 10%
- Reduce solid waste by 6%
- Recycle 60% of our solid waste
As of the 2013/14 we are exceeding annual District-wide goals for energy, water, and solid waste reduction. Progress to date.
School-year (10-month) conservation goals for each building are part of the Shared Savings Program (see link below).
Reducing utility use has resulted in savings that enable a greater investment in our core mission of excellence in education.
Resource Conservation Specialists work closely with schools, community partners, and other departments to promote a wide range of work. Currently we are focusing on:
- Utility Conservation Programs
- Composting & Recycling: Transitioning all schools to mandatory food waste composting and upgrading current recycling programs.
- Benchmarking utility use with the District's Utility Manager database, and with U.S. EPA's Energy Star Portfolio Manager.
Below is an example of just some of the recent accomplishments of the Seattle Public School District.
- Received recycling and waste reduction grant to conduct waste reduction pilot, start voluntary composting programs, and evaluate recyclable/compostable/durable food service ware = $100,000+ grant AND savings of $15,000+ annually on garbage costs
- Install and maintain energy saving software on 22,000+ computers. Avoided costs = $200,000 annually.
- Developed new solid waste contract starting in 2012/13 to encourage waste reduction. Avoided costs = $310,000 annually.
- Right-sized garbage and recycling containers. Avoided costs = $90,000 annually.
- Identified utility billing errors. Avoided costs = $23,000 annually
- Awarded $35,000 Performance Incentive Grant from Puget Sound Energy for reducing natural gas use District-wide.