Home Marlton News Evesham Township School District works to go green, save money

Evesham Township School District works to go green, save money

Saving money while creating renewable energy sustainability has become a trend, not just for residents, but school districts as well.

For the Evesham Township School District, the process began six years ago when it began eliminating the use of paper during meetings, for publications and parent notifications. Additionally, the district is implementing a paperless office accounting and human resources software program that will go into effect in the next couple of years.

“The operations department has been doing things to conserve energy for a long time, but specifically since 2007, there have been a lot of good things happening,” Business Administrator Dennis Nettleton said.

According to Nettleton, the district has recently undergone an energy audit through the New Jersey Energy Savings Improvement Program.

“This is a program where the district has received a free energy audit to determine where the district has opportunities for energy savings,” he said.

Recently, the district finished installing solar panels at Beeler Elementary and Van Zant schools.

Additionally, there are ongoing lighting projects replacing older light fixtures with more energy efficient lights, according to Nettleton.

“We participate in a demand response shut down program, where we have an HVAC controls system, which allows us to control the temperature by room remotely and by a predetermined schedule,” Nettleton said.

This year, the school implemented a composting program where food and other compostable items are collected and used in various locations, including returning to the district to be used for school gardens.

“This is our first year of composting and also our first year in a contract for trash pick up. At the end of our trash contract, we expect we will require fewer pickups of our dumpsters, which will result in savings,” Nettleton said.

According to Nettleton, the idea for the composting project materialized after speaking with a representative from Organic Diversion, a company that provides organic recycling options.

“I think it’s great they’re learning they can recycle this material and put it to a much better use. They’re doing a phenomenal job,” Organic Diversion President Rocco DiAntionio said. “They’re reducing greenhouse gas emissions, returning product to water-holding capabilities in soil and keeping the material out of a landfill.”

Students are involved in the process, utilizing composting bins in the lunchroom and separating recyclables. The lessons translate to the classroom.

“According to the building principals, students are very conscientious about the composting routine and are very aware if something that doesn’t belong is placed in the ‘green’ trashcan. Composting has become second nature with the students,” superintendent of schools John Scavelli said.

According to Scavelli, eighth-grade students at DeMasi School presented mini-lessons with the second graders when the program began.

“It has helped with our push to go green and to reinforce the message of environmental stewardship to all of our staff and students. In addition, several of our school principals have received phone calls from other teachers and parents in surrounding school districts looking to bring composting to their schools,” Scavelli said.

The program provides lessons and contributes to the “going green” cause. Combined, the programs will save the school money. No solid numbers have been determined due to how new the programs are.

“Although it is hard to say exactly how much we might save, it stands to reason with trash pickup that if you have fewer pickups you will pay less,” Nettleton said. “We have been able to reduce our energy bills from year to year over the last few budget cycles.”

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