Sustainability at St. Andrew's
St. Andrew's is committed to graduating young men and women with a deep commitment to their responsibilities as citizens of the world. We express our commitment to sustainability by teaching, living, and working in ways that reflect our ideal of a more thoughtful and sustainable world.
Environmental stewardship on campus is led by a passionate and dedicated group of students, faculty, and staff. Our Green Council and Environmental Stewards ensure that environmental sustainability is a consideration in decisions at every level of School life, whether in our kitchens or on dorm, whether in the organic garden, or on the farthest reaches of our 2200 acres. St. Andrew's has been repeatedly recognized for its sustainability work, and received a Green Ribbon School designation from the U.S. Department of Education in 2013.
- Sustainability Plan
- Land Use
- Organic Garden
- Sustainable Dining
- Environmental Stewards
- Green Council
In the 2013-2014 academic year, the Green Council created a Sustainability Plan for the School. The plan sets forth a sustainability strategy for ten areas of School life: curriculum and residential life; climate and renewable energy; buildings and energy use; transportation; water; land use; food and dining; waste management; purchasing and finance; and diversity and affordability. For each area, the plan includes an overarching goal and, if applicable, short (one year), medium (two to three years), and long term (four to five year) priorities.
Over the past several years, St. Andrew's has taken enormous steps towards sustainable living in its green building practices, purchasing habits, and transportation methods.
- Our LEED Gold Field House was the first LEED-certified school building in the state of Delaware.
- We clean our buildings with Green Seal-certified, environmentally friendly cleaning products.
- We purchase only 100% post-consumer recycled content paper and EPEAT Gold-certified computers.
- Thanks to a student analysis conducted in an economics course, we purchased our first Toyota Prius in May 2015, replacing a Chevy Impala in the School's fleet of cars. In its first year of use, the Prius saved the School four metric tons of CO2 and $1200 in gasoline costs.
- In spring 2016, we received grant funding from the Green Schools Pathway Program to install an electric vehicle charging station on campus.
- The Facilities Department uses biodiesel for its tractors, buses, and two other transportation vehicles.
Energy Efficiency & Conservation
In 2014, a group of students led an effort to convert all 150 incandescent bulbs previously used to light in Engelhard Hall to LED bulbs. The project cost lest than $2,000, and its first two years, has saved the School $2,000 annually in its electricity bills and reduced our carbon footprint by 13 metric tons (the equivalent of taking five cars off the road). Since this first bulb-exchange effort in 2014. St. Andrew's has converted more than 1200 incandescent lightbulbs on campus to LED bulbs. Cumulatively, our most recent efforts to install energy efficient technologies are projected to result in a 19% reduction in the School's Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions (which for the 2014-15 school year stood at 4300 metric tons of CO2 per year). The Green Council is also developing a Climate Action Plan for the School that will build upon existing efforts and develop projects and strategies for operating an even more energy-efficient campus.
Thanks to the initiative of a student-led solar task force, in December 2014, St. Andrew's became the proud owner of a 50kW solar array. Students on the task force researched the technology, developed a proposal for St. Andrew’s, received approval by our Board of Trustees, secured major grant funding and helped get donations from our community. (Watch the video they produced to fundraise for the array below.)
The Solar Array currently produces enough energy to power six faculty homes. Annually, it removes 32 metric tons of carbon from our atmosphere, the equivalent to that used by 26 acres of U.S. forests. You can view a live production of our solar array via SolarEdge.
Ten of our faculty homes are powered with 100% wind power, and one faculty home has a geothermal heating and cooling system.
I hope this solar array stands for many years as physical proof of the fact that at St. Andrew's, students and faculty will always be welcome to innovate, to propose ambitious projects, and to challenge the status quo. I hope this array inspires future students to take on enormous challenges with a sense of optimism and confidence.
Luke Baumann '15, Solar Task Force
St. Andrew's campus stands as a monument to the School's long-term dedication to sustainability. For decades, St. Andrew's has worked to promote farmland preservation in Delaware and the Chesapeake Bay area, as these very same areas have traded unique landscapes for generic suburban sprawl, and replaced vast open spaces with rows of shopping centers. By slowly acquiring and protecting our campus of 2,200 acres, we have become a primary source of green space in southern New Castle County. With the rapid destruction of this area's rich farmland, St. Andrew's farms are some of the last remaining portions of the rich, fertile cropland that once was a hallmark of this part of America.
Land Use Initiatives include:
- The School has reforested 100 acres of farmland under the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Landowner Incentive Program.
- Each year students continue to plant nearly 1,000 native hardwoods like black cherry, white oak, and black walnut. A one-acre stand of walnut trees near campus trails is evidence of these student efforts 25 years ago.
- Trails cleared and maintained by students in the Forestry and Wildlife program continue to be available to community members wishing to explore our 2,200 acres. Recent grant funding secured by the School have allowed us to mark and map our trails.
- St. Andrew’s removes invasives throughout our forests to foster our emerging forests and protect rare plants, such as the cypress knee sedge, which grow on our campus.
- St. Andrew’s has installed several natural features to reduce storm water run off into the pond.
- St. Andrew’s partners with University of Delaware to conduct yearly research projects to protect the water quality in Noxontown Pond. These research projects are funded through the Greenwatch Institute.
- We work with the two farms operating on our grounds to increase their best management practices, which help reduce the amount of farm field runoff and nutrients that are reaching Noxontown Pond.
I say, if your knees aren't green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life.
Calvin & Hobbes
Each fall and spring, students work in our one-acre organic garden to plant and harvest vegetables and flowers for the community. To complete the energy cycle, fruit and vegetable waste from the kitchen is delivered to the garden's compost heap, as well as leaf matter from our grounds. Thanks to donations from parents and alumni, and generous grants from the Rumphius Foundation and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, we have installed a hoophouse in the organic garden, which allows the garden to continue to supply produce to the Dining Hall throughout the winter.
Many students and alums think of St. Andrew's Dining Hall as the center of the School's campus. At the center of the center, you'll find SAGE Dining Services staff, working around the clock to provide the SAS community with three meals a day, plus snacks. Since 2013, Dining Services Director Kelly Massett and Executive Chef Ray Strawley have been working to increase the percentage of food served at St. Andrew's that is locally sourced (local being anything cultivated within 150 miles of the School). Currently, about 36% of the food served at SAS is locally sourced. For example, 90% of our meats come from Lancaster County, PA. That figure does not include the produce served in the Dining Hall that is grown in St. Andrew's organic garden. In addition, all food waste from the Dining Hall is composted for use in the organic garden, or used to feed the pigs at Bohemia Lea Farm, owned and operated by Callen Hurtt ’90.
SAGE Dining Services recently lead campus-wide effort to reduce paper cup usage, resulting in an annual savings of approximately $5,500 a year. When disposable tableware is necessary, SAGE purchases only compostable products.
The student-lead Environmental Stewards are the heart and soul of our sustainable initiatives. They work to raise environmental awareness and promote sustainable habits within the student body. For example, the Stewards conduct monthly environmental audits of dorms and corridors, in which they give each hall a score based on various environmental tests of each individual room, plus common rooms: how many appliances are turned on or plugged in; whether or not trash is sorted; if lights have been left on, etc. (The hall with the best audit score wins a Ben & Jerry's ice cream feast.)
Environmental Stewards lead environmentally educational workshops for students; host earth-friendly activities on campus, such as tree planting, local litter clearing, or the annual SAS Fall Fest; organize marches, letter-writing campaigns, and petition signature drives to support sustainable causes and legislation; and brainstorm, recommend, and even lead new sustainable initiatives for the School.
The work of the Environmental Stewards is about creating an ethic of environmentalism, and ultimately an ethic of kindness and compassion, into St. Andrew’s students. Being involved in the Stewards has made me a more conscious human being. It’s taught me to be hyperaware of my actions, and what impact they have on the world around me.
Neel Puri ’16
Comprised of students, faculty, staff, and administrators, the Green Council works to fulfill the School's environmental mission by fostering a culture of sustainability at St. Andrew's.
"St. Andrew's is committed to the sustainability and preservation of its land, water, and other natural resources. We honor this commitment by what we teach and by how we live in community and harmony with the natural world"
excerpted from the St. Andrew's Mission Statement
Green Council initiatives have led St. Andrew's to be honored with:
- National Wildlife Federation Eco-Schools Green Flag Award (2016)
- U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School (2013)
- Interfaith Power and Light Cool Congregation Challenge Climate Change "Cool Planner" Winner (2014)
- Delaware Pathways to Green Schools program participant (2014, 2015)
- Protostars silver rating (Protostars is a self-reporting tool that allows schools to measure their sustainability performance)
- Governor's Agricultural and Urban Conservation Award (2012)