Sustainability at Belmont Hill
Mindful of the rising importance of promoting environmentally sustainable practices and environmental stewardship in our world today and in the future, Belmont Hill’s Sustainability Club seeks to reduce our school’s impact on the environment and educate faculty and students alike about environmental issues in areas such as energy consumption, waste disposal, and climate change."
- Current Practices
- Solar Array on Science Building
- Reusable Water Bottles
- Weighing Food Waste
- What You Can Do
Thanks to the efforts of Belmont Hill School’s Sustainability Club, a new solar array installation on the roof of the Science Building is estimated to generate over 25,000 kilowatt hours of power per year for the building.
Led by Jack Daley ’17, Andrew Kaneb ’17, and Michael Armstrong ’17, the students approached CFO and Director of Operations, Jay Bounty and Director of Facilities, Kevin Young, with a proposal for the solar installation. The boys had done all the necessary research including reaching out to the provider of the solar array on the roof of the Jordan Athletic Center, obtaining a quote for the project, securing the necessary permits from the Town of Belmont, and writing a proposal on how to finance the project.
The students presented Mr. Bounty and Mr. Young with two options: The first was to pay the solar company a fixed price per kilowatt hour for the energy produced; the second option was to purchase the solar array directly from the solar company and then pay nothing for the energy generated. After the analysis presented by Jack, Andrew, and Michael, it was determined that it would be more economical for the School to purchase the panels.
Now installed, the power the panels produce will reduce the amount of power the School has to purchase from the Town of Belmont. Belmont Hill is able to further defray the cost of the purchase through solar resource energy credits it can trade on the energy market. The project is expected to have a return on investment of four to six years.
“This project was an awesome experience for us because we were able to cost-effectively reduce the School’s carbon footprint while also learning a lot about solar technology, finance, and environmental policy,” said Jack Daley. “I hope our story can inspire future students to promote solar energy not only on campus, but also in their own homes.”
“As we continue to investigate ways to reduce our carbon footprint, it was very exciting to see a student-led project come to fruition,” said Jay Bounty. “The fact that the Sustainability Club presented such a well-researched plan helped the project become a reality and further increase the energy efficiency of our campus. In fact, we are excited to report that the solar array on the Jordan Athletic Center has just surpassed one million kilowatt hours.”
90,000 plastic bottles are thrown out in the US every minute, bringing drastic effects to environment. To help address this important issue, the Sustainability Club initiated a campaign to eliminate disposable plastic bottles from campus. The plan was twofold: first, we partnered with administration to provide a free reusable water bottle for each student. Second, we worked with the kitchen staff to ban plastic water bottle sales at the snack bar. The club also showed students several informative films about the effects of plastic water bottle disposal on the environment.
REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
- Setting your thermostat a few degrees higher in the summer and a few degrees lower in the winter will save energy as well as money.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with Light Emitting Diodes when they burn out; LEDs use about one-tenth of the electricity and last about forty times longer than incandescent bulbs. LEDs also contain no toxic mercury, reduce carbon dioxide emissions tenfold, and reduce annual operating costs by ten times.
- If LEDs are either not available or not economically feasible, compact fluorescent light bulbs are the next best option; CFLs use one-third to one-fifth of the electricity and last eight to fifteen times longer than incandescent ones. Don’t forget to turn the lights off when you leave a room.
- Unplug appliances when you are not using them to cut out “phantom” or “vampire” energy usage. Vampire energy costs consumers approximately $6 billion annually, and sends more than 87 billion pounds of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.
- Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. Most of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.
- Take shorter showers to reduce water use; turn the water off when you use soap, and turn it back on to rinse off. Taking a shorter shower can lower water as well as heating bills. Additionally, installing a low-flow showerhead will save water and energy.
- Walk, bike, carpool, or use public transportation whenever possible. Walking and biking promote a healthier lifestyle, while carpooling with someone and using public transportation reduces emissions.
- Bring a reusable bottle to school and fill it with water from the fountain.
- Bring your own bags to the grocery store. If you need something to be bagged, keep the bag for future use.
- Buy local and organic. Eating organic food cuts down on fertilizers that can be detrimental to ecosystems. Eating locally reduces the emission that would have been released into atmosphere from packaging and transportation of the produce.
- Try to eat less meat. Besides being inhumane, livestock production significantly contributes to greenhouse gas production.
- Think before you buy. Reuse Items. If you need items like books or DVDs see if you can borrow them from a friend or the library. If you cannot, consider buying a lightly-used copy. There is no need to buy a completely new textbook when your friend’s copy is sitting on the shelf.
- Do not waste food. Put food on your plate that you know you will eat. Wasting food just increases the demand for polluting plastic trash bags and takes up more space in landfills.
- Use washable tableware and silverware. Especially avoid plastic wear, as it is either burned or added to the ever-growing waste in a landfill.