Colonial School District goes Green
Plymouth Meeting, PA -- The Colonial School District (CSD) has added a new hue to its color scheme. Green has joined the familiar patriotic red and blue as the District converts to environmentally friendly cleaning products and continues to implement energy saving measures.
"The switch to 'Green' cleaning products is part of the District's continued commitment to provide the safest and healthiest environment possible for our students and staff," said School Board President Marc Orlow. "We also continue to be prudent in terms of seeking and applying cost-cutting measures in order to maximize the benefit of our taxpayer's dollars."
Conshohocken Elementary School is the first school in the District to go all green. The school began using environmentally friendly cleaning products exclusively on June 15.
"We expect the entire District to be green by September of 2008," said Director of Operations Terry Yemm. "Because of the accelerated budget schedule mandated by Act 1, we were not able to order all green products for this year. It is fiscally responsible of us to deplete our current supply of products before making the switch completely."
Yemm explained that green products are biodegradable and comprise less volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than traditional products. Lower VOCs lessen the negative impact on breathable air and contribute to a healthier environment. He added that when purchased in bulk, the green cleaning products are similar in cost to current products in use.
Yemm said that in the future he expects the District to begin phasing in new green cleaning equipment such as vacuum cleaners that emit less dust and exhaust.
Additionally, Colonial continues to contribute to a healthier environment by implementing energy saving measures. Last fall, CSD installed new boilers in Colonial Elementary School and Plymouth
Elementary School. The newer, more efficient boilers enabled the District to realize a 30-percent reduction in energy costs during the heating season. Other than the financial benefit to the District, the reduced run time for the boilers results in less exhaust from the combustion process being emitted into the atmosphere.
New lighting systems installed in Plymouth Whitemarsh High School's east cafeteria and the CES gymnasium also produce significant energy cost savings. The new computerized lighting systems can adjust the light level to suit the needs of a particular event. Reductions in the use of electricity result in less production of electricity from our power suppliers further helping the environment.
"Previously all 38 of the 250-watt gymnasium lights were turned on at 6:00 in the morning and left on until 11:00 at night," Yemm said. "With the new, adjustable fluorescent lights, brightness levels can be set for specific events with the push of a button. You don't need the same light intensity to safely stage a gym class as you do a basketball game or a school dance."
The result is a 60-percent savings on lighting costs for the two locations to Colonial taxpayers. The district expects to incur additional savings by seeking ways to increase natural lighting. More lights in Colonial's seven school buildings will be equipped with photo cells that will automatically turn the lights on and off, and adjust lighting levels, based on available ambient light thereby reducing energy output. Yemm indicated that there are many opportunities throughout the District to take advantage of sunlight to provide the necessary lighting in corridors to allow safe passage and shut off the electric lights resulting in further reductions in the use of electricity.