Des Moines Public School District and Startmont Community School District were honored by the U.S. Department of Education to be considered Green Ribbon Schools. The Iowa Department of Education (the Department) nominated both schools based on the schools’ ability to implement sustainable practices and promote energy efficiency through the campuses and education programs.
Des Moines was noted by the Department to have saved $2.4 million in energy costs since 2007, and Starmont, located in northeast Iowa, was honored for its work to create a sustainable campus and its environmental education efforts for preschool through 12th grade.
Starmont is recognized for its commitment to vocational agriculture, where students can engage in activities in the school district’s 17-acre agricultural test plot, green house, and gardens. Starmont students are encouraged to participate in different service projects, such as building benches out of concrete and recycled wood. Older students can take part in elective classes that focus on green building, renewable energy, and other sustainable topics. The district is also noted to use biodiesel for school buses, distribute only 100 percent post-consumer material paper, and divert 39 percent of campus waste from landfills through its recycling program.
The Des Moines school district is recognized for its commitment to preserve older buildings and transform them into energy-efficient structures, rather than tearing them down to implement new buildings. 33 buildings in the Des Moines district use geothermal systems, which have replaced the older boiler systems. The school district has also upgraded to energy-efficient lighting systems by installing high-efficiency T8 and T5 bulbs as well as using LED lights to replace traditional lighting systems.
The recognition is part of a larger effort by the U.S. Department of Education to implement practices in school districts to improve “student engagement, higher academic achievement and graduation rates, and workforce preparedness, as well as a government-wide goal of increasing energy independence and economic security.”
Source: Iowa school districts honored for ‘green’ efforts, Iowa Department of Education.