Reduced Environmental Impact and Costs
November 16, 2022
The district currently practices energy efficiency through solar panels and electric vehicle chargers in student parking lots, with solar panels generating 40% of power throughout FUHSD schools. While working on the application, however, Clark noticed that many of the schools with Green Ribbon Schools awards generate 50 to 60 percent through solar.
Clark is considering two methods to increase that number — installing more solar panels or replacing the current solar panels installed 12 years ago with newer, more efficient ones. According to facilities and bonds manager Roger Silveira, modern solar panels are twice as efficient as current panels, meaning the district could offset 80% of energy production with this change.
In addition to solar panels, Clark believes modernizing classrooms can help improve sustainability. With the passing of Measure G, FUHSD received a $275 million school bond to renovate their campuses, allowing the district to make many improvements, including the transition of gas heaters in classrooms to electric heaters.
Prior to Measure G, modernizing toilets and urinals to low flow has helped the district drastically decrease water consumption from 50 million gallons to 25 million over the last ten years. According to Silveira, a large part of that is due to the switch from grass fields to turf.
The district also installed water bottle filling stations around campuses to reduce waste and is currently working on improving recycling at schools. Silveira encourages students to take the initiative and encourage recycling in their schools.
“I can help support [students] with equipment, but as far as changing the culture, that’s something that the students will have to engage in,” Silveira said. “Change the culture to make recycling a norm, [even if] it’s not convenient.”