Gold Tree Awarded to Green Schools

Dunbar received a Gold Tree award from the FCPS sustainability program

Dunbar has received Gold Tree status in Fayette County. Schools in the top 10% of all FCPS schools are recognized for achieving exemplary status in the two areas of energy sustainability and student wellness.

Dunbar also received the Silver Tree status in environmental literacy.

These three areas of FCPS sustainability focus on how schools use and get rid of resources, as well as mental wellness and how students are being educated on these subjects.

PLD currently has a recycling club, sponsored by science teacher Mrs. Elizabeth Pelphrey, as well as the E=USE^2 team.

“We should put a recycling bin in the cafeteria,” recycling club sophomore member Nancy Zhang said. “I feel like the school is making effort to recycle better, but the students are putting in a lot of things that aren’t recyclable which makes it harder for us and the people at the plant.”

The recycling club collects the recycling from classrooms around the building and put it in a recycling dumpster.

“Sustainability can include recycling, how much we save out of the landfill, and how much we put into the landfill as well,” Mrs. Pelphrey said.

The E=USE^2 team is focused on making students investigate and develop solutions towards environmental challenges, as well as collecting data and information on current environmental situations.

“We’re trying to spread sustainability awareness…with sustainability, we also check each and every room to see who is efficiently using energy and who is wasting energy, and we try to make them more knowledgeable about what to do and what not to do in those circumstances,” science teacher Mrs. Keia Scott-Newsome said.

Fayette County has provided sustainability efforts by replacing light bulbs with light-emitting diode (LED) lights, as well as installing several water-bottle filling stations around Fayette County Public Schools.

“We would like to see the Energy Usage Intensity (EUI) for FCPS reduced by 20% over the next five years, which could reduce the district’s utility costs by over $1.8 million annually,” Fayette County Energy Manager Mr. Logan Poteat said.

“We look at how buildings operate and figuring out if we can be more efficient, such as lighting schedules or heating and air conditioning schedules and temperatures and try to do our best to keep the building comfortable while occupied, but conscious of wasting energy when the buildings are empty in the evening and night,” Mr. Poteat said.

The Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council is a group of students who meet once a month to find new ways to reach others in areas about environmental sustainability.

According to the BYSC site, they are made up of students who are passionate about the environment to work together and improve environmental sustainability in collaboration with other local experts.

They have completed seven major projects including rain barrels at Dunbar along with the art department and designing and installing cinderblock Planters for Henry Clay High School. 

*kBtu is thousands of British Thermal Units *Energy used in Fayette County Public School District in measure of kBtu per square fee

According to BYSC, there are a number of ways students can help save more energy and keep the environment healthy, such as turning off the water while brushing their teeth, unplugging unused devices, turning off lights in unused rooms, unplugging chargers when they aren’t in use and, also bringing awareness of saving energy to others.

They note that students can also make sure to use biodegradable materials instead of letting waste stay in landfills that can take centuries to decompose.

“Reducing our energy consumption reduces the amount of CO2 emitted in the air. Less CO2 in the air is both good for the environment and healthy for people, and using less energy has the added benefit of saving money,” Mr. Poteat said.