Boston Public Schools saluted for environmental work
BOSTON - The Boston Public Schools recently received the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Environmental Purchasing and Sustainability Award. The award honors public agencies for extending extra efforts to purchase and use environmentally friendly products and BPS was selected for the district-wide commitment to "Green" cleaners instead of traditional cleaning products in schools.
The BPS was one of two public school districts selected for the honor. The Massachusetts Operational Services Division, Division of Capital Asset Management and Executive Office of Environmental Affairs managed the selection process and presented the award at a State House ceremony.
The BPS has been working aggressively with the help of Mayor Thomas M. Menino and other city agencies on several initiatives related to the environment and public health.
GREEN CLEANERS: The use of green cleaners has been ongoing for several years but was fully implemented earlier this year by policy of the Facilities Management Office and the Chief Operating Officer. Now custodians at all 145 schools use green cleaners on a daily basis. The products have less of an effect on the air quality without sacrificing cleansing power and cost about the same as traditional cleaning products.
ANTI-IDLING PROGRAM: The anti-idling program is in its second year and includes brand new signs outside of schools and additional training for bus drivers and other employees who operate BPS vehicles. The program is in partnership with the Boston Public Health Commission and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The BPS Transportation Department also began purchasing ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel for its entire fleet more than a year ago.
FUEL: Beginning with the last academic year, all schools are using natural gas for heat, hot water and cooking (in those schools with kitchens), saving on maintenance costs and reducing pollution.
SOLAR POWER: Three schools are now using solar power for at least a portion of their buildings to mitigate energy use: Boston Arts Academy (Fenway), Murphy K - 8 School (Dorchester) and John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science (Roxbury).
ENERGY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: Over 90% of all school buildings' climates are programmed centrally to ensure the warmth of students and staff and also to save on energy costs.
NO SMOKING SIGNS: The Boston Tobacco Control Program, under the Boston Public Health Commission, has purchased and begun distributing "No Smoking" signs to all schools as a reminder of state law which prohibits the use of tobacco products by all on school grounds. The BPS Facilities Management Office is assisting with the hanging of the signs on fences and building exteriors and interiors.
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: As part of a new program in the exploration stage, the BPS Facilities Management office is working with schools to site one for possible conversion to wind power.