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The purpose of the Green Schools Initiative is to reduce the consumption of natural resources, and embed environmental responsibility in the culture of OPS. To date, 100% of the schools/programs and administrative offices participate. Students collect recycling, serve as energy managers, pick up litter, plant trees, and participate in related community events.  After six years, OPS has seen a positive culture change, has dramatically reduced its environmental impact, and has accumulated approximately $7.3 million in cumulative cost reduction and avoidance and avoided the greenhouse gas emissions 74,000 Mt of CO2 equivalent to the emissions produced by burning 395 railcars of coal.

Dr. Turnquist on GSI

"The Green Schools Initiative is motivated by a dedication to sound fiscal and environmental stewardship. It represents a commitment to responsible management of material resources and to the health of the school district as well as the larger community. All members of the OPS family are urged to join together in this initiative out of respect for the environment and a dedication to efficiency in all operational practices."

Dr. Antoinette E. Turnquist
Chief Operations Officer

green-ribbon-schools

The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award honors schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions for reducing environmental impact and costs, improving health and wellness, and offering effective sustainability education.

OPS Winners

2012

Miller Park Elementary

Lothrop Science Magnet

 

2013

King Science Magnet

 

2014

District Award

Fontenelle Elementary

 

2015

Gomez Heritage Elementary

Wilson Focus School

 

2016

Davis Middle

 

2017

Chandler View Elementary

Northwest High Magnet School



 

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Green Schools Initiative News

Green Schools Initiative News

North High Puts Water HOGs to Use Bookmark

Water HOGs at North High

Not only did Omaha North High recently receive recognition for its new LEED Silver certified addition—the first such certification for a school in Nebraska—it is continuing to push the environmental envelope with a set of water HOGs.

OPS U.S. Department of Education Blog Bookmark

OPS own Shelley Bengston, Environmental Specialist, wrote a blog for the U.S. Department of Education blog on her experiences on improving the Indoor Air Quality at OPS.

2012 Green Ribbon Schools Bookmark

OPS' Lothrop Elementary and Miller Park Elementary have been honored amont the 78 first-ever recipients of the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools award.

North High Art Students Project on the UNMC Campus Bookmark

North High Art Students Project on the University of Nebraska Medical Center Campus

Art students from North High Magnet recently completed a mural in a stairwell between the second and third floor of University Tower. 

Mayor Suttle visits Lothrop Magnet Bookmark

The  former Mayor of Omaha, Jim Suttle, visited Lothrop Elementary in October to see all that the school is doing to be greener. It was a great chance for the Tigers to show off their great recycling program, energy conservation efforts, greenhouse, and composting. 


Background

In March 2015, OPS confirmed new goals as part of its Green Schools Initiative, a program designed to guide the reduction of consumption of natural resources at OPS. These goals set targets for resource reduction and track the progress in each goal, which can be viewed on the Dashboard.

Goals

The original goals were either out of date or no longer relevant. Paper and engagement will no longer be tracked.  There is not enough data available to give an accurate representation of paper usage in the District. In addition, the paper ordering is often uneven, with large orders one semester and small ones the next, making it difficult to discern patterns and areas of opportunity for reduction which is a primary reason for tracking a metric. The District has also reached the goal for engagement with all schools having implemented Green Teams.

The table below shows previous goals and new goals. The new goal metrics were chosen with consideration for OPS’ growth and the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Award program metrics. The Green Ribbon Award recognizes schools that reduce their environmental impact, improve the health and wellness of schools and occupants, and provide environmental education. OPS won the 2014 District Green Ribbon Sustainability award and four individual schools have earned Green Ribbon awards over the last three years. Showing progress towards these goals illustrates the district’s commitment to resource reduction and improving the health and wellness of the District.

The table below describes the previous goal, the new (or updated goal), and the savings experienced to date. The Emissions goal is new whereas the paper usage and engagement goals are being eliminated. The time frame for each goal is 2019.

OPS Green Schools Initiative Goals and Savings

 

Previous Goal

Savings to date

Current

New Goal

Energy Star

District wide Energy Star rating of 70

$3.9 million in energy costs

District wide Energy Star rating of 62.5

District wide Energy Star rating of 70

Emissions

n/a

36,500 MtCO2 * emissions prevented

1.58 MtCO2 per occupant per year in emissions

1.36 MtCO2 per occupant per year in emissions

Water Consumption

District average of 11.1 million gallons per month

n/a

2,469 gallons per occupant per year

2,400 gallons per occupant per year

Recycling

34,000 cubic yards of recycling

$47,000 in avoided costs

24% of District waste diverted to recycling

30% of District waste diverted to recycling

Waste Reduction

110,000 cubic yards of waste per year

(see above)

(see above)

(see above)

Paper Usage

7,300 cases purchased per year

n/a

8,150 cases purchased per year

n/a

Engagement-Green Teams

100% of schools with Green Teams

n/a

100% of schools with Green Teams

n/a

* MtCO2 stands for metric tons of carbon dioxide, a common metric to measure greenhouse gas emissions.

Potential Impact

If OPS were to meet the goals above, it would have the following impact each year:

  • The emissions reduction equivalent of removing 1,900 passenger cars from the road
  • Saving 1.4 million gallons of water
  • Diverting 8,000 cubic yards of waste to recycling