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.
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.
Miller Park Elementary
Lothrop Science Magnet
King Science Magnet
Gomez Heritage Elementary
Wilson Focus School
Chandler View Elementary
Northwest High Magnet School
In the News
Tracking OPS Progress
OPS Goals and Metrics
Green Schools Initiative News
Northwest horticulture teacher, Rachel Burns, presented her
students with a unique challenge: Design a rain garden that will displace water
runoff during seasonal storms, minimize the amount of pollutants making their
way into the nearby Papio Creek and aid conservation efforts to provide
milkweed for the endangered Monarch butterfly.
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.
The original goals were either out of date or no longer relevant.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
Savings to date
District wide Energy Star rating of 70
$3.9 million in energy costs
District wide Energy Star rating of 62.5
36,500 MtCO2 * emissions prevented
1.58 MtCO2 per occupant per year in emissions
1.36 MtCO2 per occupant per year in emissions
District average of 11.1 million gallons per month
2,469 gallons per occupant per year
2,400 gallons per occupant per year
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
110,000 cubic yards of waste per year
7,300 cases purchased per year
8,150 cases purchased per year
100% of schools with Green Teams
* MtCO2 stands for metric tons of carbon dioxide, a common metric to measure greenhouse gas emissions.
If OPS were to meet the goals above, it would have the following impact each year: