School joins Green Alliance

Environmental Committee sets goal to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent

The school has pledged to reduce its carbon footprint by 30 percent in the next five years and become “carbon neutral” by 2020.

Marlborough joined Green Schools Alliance (GSA) at the “Climate Champion” level this summer.  GSA is a coalition of public and private schools across the country that is united to set sustainability goals and devoted to taking action against global climate change.

Campus Environmental Liaison Leslie Elkus said belonging to a community like GSA connects Marlborough to other like-minded progressive schools, which hold each other accountable and push each other to follow through with their goals and work “proactively, as opposed to acting out of fear,” Elkus said.

The school is conducting an energy audit this year which will give them an idea where much of the school’s carbon emissions come from, which will be a major step in figuring what 30 percent really means and how they’ll cut it.

Whatever the results of the audit, Robert Bryan, chairman of the campus environmental committee, said that in order to meet the ambitious goal, the entire Marlborough community must be engaged and involved in the effort to reduce energy usage.

Some of the major areas already targeted for energy reduction are the paper usage in the computer labs and copy machines, as well as electricity conservation, water consumption, and waste reduction.

Bryan said that the committee is also looking into cutting down on “vampire energy,” (energy used when electrical objects are plugged in but not used), and potentially retrofitting classrooms in the older buildings so lights turn off automatically when no one is in the room.  He also encourages students to carpool as much as possible.

The committee, which includes vice presidents from each grade level, along with parent representatives, administrators, faculty, facility managers, and business officers, is working to promote awareness and participation.

“We need the whole student body and faculty to be on board so we can combine our efforts to create change,” said junior class vice president Kendall ’11. “I want students not just to think it’s a necessity, but something they want to do.”

“It’s valuable to make sure students understand what their impact can be personally,” Campus Environmental Liaison Maryellen Baker said.

The Parents’ Association is educating parents on making “waste free lunches” and the environmental committee is in the process of organizing a summit to share ideas with other GSA schools in Los Angeles.

Bryan understands that this is a challenging task.

“Each one of us will have to find ways to sacrifice so we can achieve our goal,” Bryan said.  “If we don’t meet our goal, we will take pride in the fact that progress has been made.”