Explaining to the students why they need to recycle or turn off the lights is crucial to instilling long-term sustainable behaviors that they will use in every community they find themselves in. We are taking a hard look at how we teach conservation and innovation in our classes, and we continue to build each year upon several existing sustainability lessons in our science and social studies programs.
The faculty has created a set of sustainability standards that all can reference as they plan new units and tweak old lessons. They also have access to a learning materials blog, which you can view here.
Every academic subject has the opportunity to engage in sustainability learning, and we are excited to keep finding ways to educate our boys to be globally savvy and ecologically sensitive.
Fenn's garden was constructed with the help of classes and community service participants in the spring of 2012. In the three beds, we have planted annual herbs, sunflowers, perennial vegetables (such as asparagus), and plenty of cold-weather crops that we can work with during the early spring and late fall. We fertilize with our own compost and control pests with physical barriers and helpful annual flowers. The dining hall has showcased our carrots, potatoes, kale, and herbs in Caesar Acosta's Peruvian salsas! We have also helped Gaining Ground grow beets when their soil was affected with beet blight.
They may be small, but they make a huge difference! Our Fourth and Fifth Graders are responsible for emptying classroom and office recyling bins into the larger totes every week. They give up part of their lunch to do this task, and we are very thankful for their dedication.
Since 2010, Fenn has been tracking its utility consumption. Every two months, we have a chance to inspect, at a granular level, our water, electricity, natural gas, and fuel oil use; the last three utilities can be converted to BTUs for easier comparison between sources of energy, spaces on campus, and periods of time. From those numbers, we are able to come up with an estimate of our Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions.
Over the past five years, our campus has evolved and grown in space to accommodate a larger student population and the increasinly robust academic, artistic, and athletic programs. Additionally, the past two winters have been remarkably colder than the regional average. This means that our 2014 CO2e levels bounced up to 821.93 metric tons. Fenn takes this increase very seriously, and is currently taking a hard look at building occupant behavior modification strategies as well as highly efficient mechanical upgrades. Stay tuned for specifics as we fine-tune our plans.
In 2014, Fenn undertook its first comprehensive sustainability self-assessment. We are using the tool Protostar (developed by sustainability practitioners at fellow NAIS schools), which asks us to measure sustainability efforts in our education program, campus and financial operations, and administrative planning. During the Spring of 2015, we completed and submitted the assessment. Please click here for more information.
Fenn gets that the materials we use in our classrooms and around the school have lives before and after our time with them; that's why we've begun to take a hard look at the products we purchase, use, and dispose of. One of the easiest switches we made happened several years ago - Fenn decided that it wanted to use 100% recycled paper in as many applications as it could, and we made the space for that in our budget. Last year, more than 97% of the office paper we used was 100% recycled.
Additionally, Fenn has purchased highly recyclable Interface carpeting for recently renovated spaces, and our Facilities team prefers bio-based engine oils and EcoLogo certified cleaning products. With the rollout of the one-to-one iPad program this past year and heavier reliance, in general, on teaching with technology, we are also proud to say that 75% of our computer purchases last year alone were EPEAT Gold certified (primarily for energy efficiency and supply chain transparency).
In the future, we hope to increase our knowledge and use of other products that have more promising life cycle analyses and are healthier for the people and the planet.
Every October, when the fall weather turns crisp and invigorating, Fenn boys, faculty, and families leave their cars in the driveway and hop on bikes, skateboards, and their feet as they move from one place to another. Boys help tally the miles they haven't driven over the month, and the carbon emissions kept out of the atmosphere by their efforts are always impressive! Visit www.fenn.org/manpower to check out pictures, videos, and results of past years.
Fenn completed a new ten-year strategic plan in 2012. Many dedicated faculty, administrators, trustees, parents, alumni, and students contributed sincere thoughts and feedback during the planning process, and sustainability came through as vitally important to our school in several areas. The strategic plan calls on faculty to integrate environmental sustainability more fully in the curriculum and show our students where there are opportunities for responsible behavior; the plan also calls on our Facilities and Operations teams to employ energy efficient and environmentally sensitive practices as we manage our buildings.
Please see Fenn's Strategic Plan for more detailed information.