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Fontana school going green?

District looks at becoming 'green certified'

May 26, 2010 | 09:16 AM
Fontana — Suzy Accola wants the village's elementary school to decrease its impact on the environment.

Accola, a district parent and certified green consultant, has offered to help make Fontana Elementary School "green certified," which will recognize it for decreasing its impact on the environment.

"Like most of you I'm concerned how we affect our environment," said Accola, who is donating her services to the district.

To earn the certification, the district may need to make some changes in its daily operations.

On Monday night, Accola spoke to the School Board about becoming green certified and said the district already has taken some environmentally friendly actions.

Already, the district provides bike racks, Energy Star appliances, a recycling program and offers natural light through skylights.

It also recycles ink and toner cartridges.

However, the district could become more green by using different cleaning supplies and installing HEPA filters into its vacuums and HVAC system.

"It doesn't really cost us anything, but it takes effort to get us there," Accola said.

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After Accola made her presentation, School Board members were receptive to her suggestions.

"It seems like a natural direction for the school to go," School Board President Jennifer Keefe said.

Last year, the district took some steps toward becoming more green by having an energy audit, Keefe said.

"We looked at it because of ethical and moral concerns about the environment, but it's also about saving money," she said.

Other board members agreed.

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"It's the perfect direction for the school to go," School Board Clerk Joseph McHugh said. "It's great for the school, the health of the kids and its one more benefit to attending school here."

To earn a green certification of silver, the district must earn 100 points, Accola said.

Points are given for environmentally-friendly offerings, programs and practices. Accola said without making any changes the district already is at about 80 points.

McHugh, who also is the executive director of the Geneva Lake Conservancy, said it's good to see the school has already taken steps in the right direction.

"I'm happy to see us recognized for some of the decisions we already made," McHugh said.

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School Board Vice President Leo Bourneuf said this also could be a learning opportunity for students at the school.

"I think it's a great idea and I think its something we can include in our science curriculum," Bourneuf said.

Accola also said once the school reaches its first level of certification, the work isn't done.

"In the end, of course, we want to strive to be greener and greener," Accola said.

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