Deerfield Academy is a campus that seems to bleed green not only at sporting events, in our art studios and on the stage, but also in our attempts to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. The newer buildings on campus, such as Harold Smith, New Dorm and the Hess Center are all designed with the environment in mind. From the Koch Center’s gold Leed Certification to the compostable containers and utensils served at the Louis Cafe and the Greer, these efforts all contribute to our 80-20 initiative to reduce school waste.
These efforts have been fueled by the Physical Plant staff—such as Environmental Management Coordinator David Purington—who have made great efforts to reduce the school’s landfill waste. In a recent project, Physical Plant shipped off the old Large Auditorium chairs to the Institution Recycling Network(IRN) instead of throwing them away as waste. The IRN then arranged for the chairs to be brought to Nicaragua, where they will be used in a school that also functions as a community center.
Established in 1999, the IRN helps large institutions decrease their amount of waste and strives to make recycling as cost-effective as possible. Deerfield has been a member of the IRN since 2000 and has been using the IRN as an outlet to decrease our waste. In March 2013, Deerfield sent 10 truckloads and trailers full of miscellaneous items such as old kitchen appliances, desk chairs, mattresses and more that would have otherwise ended up in landfills. This project is a continuous one, and Deerfield is in the process of filling a new trailer to be delivered to the IRN when it reaches its full capacity.
“This is something that costs [Deerfield Academy] money; however, it is something that we believe is worth the investment,” said Director of Facilities Chuck Williams.
Another green effort is the maintenance of campus grounds. Physical Plant has decreased the amount of pesticides used, and organic pesticides are now being used instead of synthetic ones. Mr. Purington noted, “[Physical Plant] uses the least amount of synthetic pesticides as it can get away with.”
During the summer of 2014, Physical Plant also altered the heating system of four major dorms on campus: Johnson, Doubleday, Louis Marx and John Louis. The heating system now uses hot water rather than steam. The new method is much more efficient and energyfriendly. In addition, over 1500 LED lights have been installed in common rooms across campus and classroom buildings.
Mr. Purington explained, “We are now simply waiting to get [the LED lights] to student and faculty housing.”
Williams further underscored the Physical Plant’s mindset: “Making what you have more efficient is a good place to start.”