Friday, September 6, 2013

Green jobs helping citizens save on energy costs

Check this link!

Livermore students and recents grads are working for the City of Livermore helping citizens reduce their energy consumption, and save money.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Fill your water bottle at the Hydration Station

Check out the new Hydration Station in the 300 hall! This high-tech drinking faucet functions as a source of cooled, filtered water, and can also fill your personal water container.

Brita Water filters have been great in classrooms with sinks. Students use the Brita pitcher-style filter to fill their water bottles, and return to their seat, as shown in the prior blog. This reduces single-use plastic in classrooms. But what about classrooms without sinks? The answer is the Hydration Station in the hallway.

Students can fill their water container with water that is cool and filtered. The Elkay EZH20 also tallies how may plastic bottles have been saved because of this device.

Reduction of the use of plastic bottles means less fossil fuels will be spent making bottles, and it means that less plastic will need to be recycled. It also means less plastic will end up in our watersheds, or in the ocean. This is a terrific goal to improve our Environment! Additionally, when students drink water for hydration, they are avoiding sodas, and other drinks with sugar or caffeine. Hydration with water will help our student health.

Kudos to Mike Nagel and the Maintainance staff, as well as David Darlington our conservation consultant, for getting this hydration station installed. Another is planned for the Gym.  If LHS can use these improvements to benefit our local environment, we can work to get more installed across our campus. (update 8/9/13, looks like we will get more of these across the campus!)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Water filters help reduce single-use plastic bottles

Clear chlorine-free water for your re-useable water container!

Grant money from an Altamont Education Advisory Board paid for these water filters. The filters will be placed in classrooms for use by students and staff. Students fill the filters with water, then fill-up their water containers as often as they like. By doing this, they do not need to purchase single-use water bottles, and we will not need to recycle the single-use container.

LHS Leadership has piloted a program supplying green tumblers to students at cost, which is $5. The tumbler has the LHS emblem on the side and is a familiar green color. Students can use any container they choose, but each time a container is filled, that is one less bottle manufactured, and one less disposed of. In an ideal world, we would be re-using containers instead of recycling them.

An argument can be made that students can simply drink from a drinking faucet. This is a good option, which does not cause plastic to be used what-so-ever. However, the drinking faucet is not at their desk, and is usually not in their classroom. The reuseable water container can be at their desk. Also, many people choose to drink bottled or filtered water to avoid the chorine taste. To entice those people to stop using single-use plastic bottles, this filter is the answer.

To make this work, we hope that students will remember to fill the filter pitcher when it gets low. Each pitcher arrives with a new carbon based filter, and a supply of filters is available in room S4.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dyson AirBlade Operational in 400 Girls Bathroom

Put your hands in, and this device blows air over your hands drying them off, as you pull your hands back out.

This $1800 device was donated to LHS, and was recently installed in the girls bathroom in the 400 hall. If all works as planned, students will dry their washed hands using the AirBlade instead of using paper towels.

The production and disposal of paper towels is costly to our environment. Trees are cut from the Boreal Forest, and shipped to the paper mill. Paper is manufactured, and shipped to local distributors. Our school district purchases, warehouses, and distributes paper towels for our custodians. Custodians install rolls of paper towels, only to pick them up off the floor or from the waste bin at the end of the day. The used paper towels are then hauled off to the compactor, then to the landfill. All these steps, from cutting the trees, to burning fossil fuels for transportation, to hauling to the landfill can be eliminated by using the AirBlade.

There are natural questions about the AirBlade's use of electricity. The AirBlade does not heat the air, but rather propels air rapidly over your hands using very little electricity. It is like putting your hand in a windstorm. But the amount of electricity is similar to running your vacuum cleaner for twelve seconds. Not much.

The overall operating cost of the AirBlade will be much less than the cost of supplying paper towels.  This will save trees, save money, and it will save time of our custodians! A win-win-win!

Last year, LHS purchased 1,248 large rolls of paper towels at a cost of $6.17 per roll. Can we lower our resource use by wasting fewer paper towels, and by installing more Dyson AirBlades?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Recycling Signage Tune-up

Where do I put my apple core?
Laminated images and written instructions have been added to our recycling stations. Every effort has been made to keep our recycling stations intuitive, and easy to use.  "Compost" is a clear message to some people, and perhaps not to everyone.  To help users know where to put apple cores, or milk cartons, or the remnant of their sandwich, we have added new labels.

Big images of fruit or milk cartons lure the student to the correct bin. When the student gets closer to the "COMPOST" sign, the simple written instructions help confirm we are at the right place.  Just under, "COMPOST" is the small print, "food scraps and milk-cartons"  please."

Can I recycle my engine oil here? It says recycling!
No engine oil recycling right here. But Livermore Sanitation will collect engine oil from residences.

So, what material should go in the "Recycling" bin?  On the LHS campus outdoor recycle stations, our "Recycling" sign means plastic bottles and aluminum cans. We are working to remove aluminum and plastic from the waste stream headed to the landfill. Paper, cardboard, batteries, eye-glasses, ink cartridges are all recycled somewhere else on campus. 

To clarify our message, we improved our signage. Plastic bottles and aluminum cans are "low-hanging-fruit", meaning they are an easy first-step to reducing the waste stream. Plastic and aluminum are also important because they have a decent redemption value, which encourages student clubs to help collect plastic and aluminum from these bins and earn money for their club.
The Recycling side of our stations now has pics of water bottles and aluminum cans. To reduce the amount of odd entries in the Recycling slot, we added "plastic bottles and aluminum cans, please".  Adding "please" just sounded less bossy.

Green Engineering Academy students in the news

More GEA news....

Thursday, March 14, 2013