Did you know that the school's strategic plan, Spark 2023, contains no fewer than six initiatives devoted to sustainability and conservation, including the school’s aspiration to become “a model of sustainability and environmental responsibility?”
The St. Stephen's school community has shown great interest in sustainability for decades. Campus-wide recycling, for instance, was initiated by students in the early 1990s — well before there were any municipal programs to complement such efforts. Throughout the last 10 years, a student group called the Green Goblins has been one of the most active on campus, contributing significantly to educating the entire school community about environmental issues and taking actions to conserve school resources.
Last fall faculty and staff organized our inaugural Sustainability Summit, which represents a significant milestone in our larger school community’s effort to acknowledge these student accomplishments, partner with other organizations in promoting sustainability and plan for a bright future of sustainability efforts at St. Stephen’s.
Now, thanks to John Chovanetz, director of facilities and maintenance, St. Stephen’s has successfully reduced its carbon footprint while saving money in the process. Chovanetz recently identified and implemented a rebate program available through Austin Energy that covers 80 percent of the cost of converting existing inefficient light fixtures to LEDs, which typically use only about 15 percent of the energy required for older fixtures.
Austin Energy has predicted that this single campus improvement will save enough electricity to power the equivalent of 40 homes for an entire year. Now that's a bright idea!