Sustainability Initiatives Pay Green Dividends for S.F. Schools

Five years after San Francisco hired its first sustainability director for the city's school system, the controversial decision is paying off in environmental benefits and substantial energy savings.

"There were more than a few skeptics when San Francisco city officials foisted an environmental guru on the school district five years ago," writes Jill Tucker. "But now, with some results to look at, it appears the guru gambit wasn't a mistake."

Initiatives led by Nik Kaestner such as a tree-planting campaign, introducing water bottle refilling stations and getting teachers to better manage the temperature of their rooms have produced environmental and cost benefits. "In the 2011-12 academic year, city schools saved $363,000 in energy costs compared with the year before - about an 8 percent reduction overall. And in 2012-13, as of June, schools had already saved $455,000 over the prior year."

"Still, despite the cost savings, some question whether the district needs to pay someone's salary to make those arguments, especially since it reduces the amount the district would get to pay for extras like art and physical education needs, which is what Proposition H generally funds," notes Tucker.

Full Story: S.F. schools gambit on green guru pays off

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