Providing good stewardship and responsible management through sustainability initiatives throughout the district.
From 2010- Oct. 2015, White Bear Lake Area Schools had partnered with Schools for Energy Efficiency® (SEE), a comprehensive program for K-12 schools to save energy and money by changing behavior throughout the district. The SEE program helped us establish sustainable energy saving ideas that we will continue to build off of in the future.
In 2017-18, we converted our High School and Middle School gym lighting to LED. We've continued to do LED upgrades in 2019-20 on many of our other gyms and parking lots. As we begin our referendum projects, sustainability will play a large role in how decisions are made.
White Bear Lake Area Schools, District 624 Adopts Energy Guidelines
School District 624 is committed to an energy-efficient environment. The Cabinet members approved energy guidelines to help reduce energy use throughout our schools while maintaining an environment that is conducive to learning.
The purpose of energy guidelines is to identify and establish standards for all district employees regarding the operation of heating, cooling, ventilation, electrical equipment and water use in school buildings and other properties owned and operated by the district. The guidelines outline energy-efficient practices for building operators and district staff in an effort to reduce annual district energy consumption by 10 percent.
A district energy steering committee, which includes representation from district schools and departments, developed the guidelines and will work to help implement them. The steering committee used federal guidelines from the Department of Education, American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, Indoor Air Quality and the Department of Energy.
All district employees are asked to read the guidelines and follow the energy recommendations that pertain to their position and day-to-day job responsibilities so we can all become empowered to help save energy to support education.
Find a copy of the guidelines here.
Find tips on how to save energy at home at the U.S. Department of Energy website
According to Minnesota State Law (Section 115A.551, Subd. 2a.), Ramsey and Washington Counties have a goal to recycle 75 percent by weight of total solid waste generated by December 31, 2030. With schools and facilities located in both counties, White Bear Lake Area Schools has partnered with Ramsey and Washington Counties to do our part reaching this goal. The Counties have awarded us multiple grants to purchase equipment and hire the consulting firm, JL Taitt & Associates to develop and implement new programs, practices and methods designed to help the counties meet their recycling goals.
The School Board's Waste Reduction & Recycling Policy was adopted on September 8, 1997 and most recently revised on July 9, 2012. It is the policy of District 624 to comply with all state laws relating to waste management and to make resource conservation an integral part of the physical operations and curriculum of the School District.
WBLAS waste reduction and recycling program goals are to:
Increase the School District's recycling rate to 75% by 2030.
Increase student, staff and visitors participation in the existing recycling program including rigid plastic containers such as food and beverage bottles and tubs; plastics labeled #1 through #7; milk cartons; and aseptic packaging such as juice boxes and soup and broth cartons.
Expand milk carton recycling to all school cafeterias district-wide. It is estimated that the School District discarded 930,750 milk cartons during the 2014-2015 school year. * Since 2016, all of our schools were recycling milk cartons. This has prevented over 2 million milk cartons from entering the waste stream.
Expand food and beverage waste recycling (food-to-hogs program) to all school kitchens (food prep waste) and cafeterias (student plate waste) district-wide.
Switch from one-time-use disposable lunch trays to reusable lunch trays that are cleaned in a dishwasher daily by foodservice staff. It is estimated that the School District discarded 685,900 disposable lunch trays during the 2014-2015 school year.
Establish a best practices, color-coded collection container system where blue identifies recycling containers and equipment, green identifies food and beverage waste recycling containers and equipment and gray identifies trash containers and equipment.
Develop a method to collect recyclables and reusable school supplies during seasonal school clean outs (end of school year desk and locker cleanouts).
Waste & Recycling Services Contract
Effective October 1, 2015, the rate structure in District 624's new waste and recycling services contract is designed to financially reward the School District for its waste reduction and recycling efforts.
The School District will reduce costs by 67% per cubic yard in Ramsey County and 63% per cubic yard in Washington County when recyclables are diverted from the garbage stream.
Our current program is based on the method of single stream recycling where cans, glass, plastics, paper and cardboard are collected together in the same BLUE container and food and beverage waste in our kitchens and cafeterias are managed through hog feeding and collected in a GREEN container.
The plight of White Bear Lake and the Prairie du Chien-Jordan Aquifer is a widely recognized issue for communities surrounding the lake as well as the entire Northeast metro area. White Bear Lake and other resources across the state, are being negatively impacted by the rapid development and associated increased pumping of groundwater throughout the area. Given these alarming trends, we have an urgent need to engage all of the affected communities in the Northeast Metro in a community based water conservation strategy. In partnership with local non-profit H2O for Life, students across the district are taking action as water stewards to protect and advocate for our precious water resources for future generations. The partnership with Race 2 Reduce has been an extremely positive experience for White Bear Lake students, teachers and our community. Students at all age levels have gained a greater awareness of local water issues, and have learned how to advocate for change. Students have kept track of their own water usage, have learned how to take action to change their behavior and shared their knowledge with the greater community. Staff members appreciate the high quality curriculum that has been developed and the ongoing training and support they have received in the implementation process.
WBLAS water conservation efforts have been highlighted locally and nationally:
Learn more about the curriculum here: https://www.h2oforlifeschools.org/lesson-plans
40 kw Solar arrays were installed on six of our schools over the summer and fall of 2019.
These arrays will save the school district money on it's utility bills and have the following
- In one year, each solar array will offset the equivalent amount of carbon that comes from burning
38,231 lbs of coal.
- It is also the equivalent of the greenhouse gas emissions from driving 85,645 miles driven by an
average passenger vehicle.
- The carbon sequestered by the solar array's energy production is the equivalent of 41.2 acres
of U.S. forestes in one year.