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Sustainability in School Operations

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Sustainability in the context of school operations is defined as school-wide practices and policies that minimize the use of energy, water, and other resources as well as the production of waste while supporting and improving the long-term viability of the institution.

Managing the long-term impacts that Choate has on its students, others, resources, the environment, and quality of life requires the collaboration of various groups including students, trustees, senior administrators, faculty, staff, the financial office, information technology, human resources, and custodial, dining, and facilities services.

Sustainability Goals for School Operations

  • Carry out a full and accurate assessment of the school’s carbon footprint.
  • Develop an alternative energy plan.
  • Continue with and expand current efficiency improvements.
  • Modify purchasing policy to include more or all green choices.
  • Develop a construction policy.
  • Analyze and improve waste reduction and recycling.
  • Assess in an ongoing manner the technology, broadly defined (computers, lighting, HVAC, alternative energy systems, etc), that the school employs and how it is used.
  • Analyze the environmental impact of grounds maintenance procedures.
  • Track and reduce campus water use, including waste water (all non-irrigation water) and potable water (includes irrigation).
  • Assess the cost, availability, and pros and cons of carbon offsets.
  • Implement a training program for new staff and faculty and resources for continued education.
  • Develop a transparent mechanism for reporting the school’s progress to the community.

Greater Energy Efficiencies

We continue to upgrade campus facilities with more efficient windows and lighting, motion sensors, and low-flow bathroom units. All new construction projects are designed and built in accordance with LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) standards. Read more about LEED standards on the U.S. Green Building Council website.

Additionally, Choate has been actively tracking its carbon emissions annually via the Sustainability Indicator Management and Analysis Platform (SIMAP) since 2005. The emissions inventory (see below) goes back to 2005 and includes all scope 1 and 2 emissions and includes the following scope 3 emissions: directly financed business travel.

Total Emissions in Metric Tonnes

Recycling Program

There are now recycling containers in every dorm room and classroom as well as attached to all outside garbage receptacles. In addition to the usual recycled items (cans, bottles, paper, magazines, and cardboard), Choate keeps other items out of the landfills such as clothing, furniture, mattresses, electronics, and printer cartridges through donation or other recycling programs. Use of new MAX-R waste & recycling bins to forward sustainability efforts on campus.

Dining and Food 

Going Trayless in the Dining Hall

  • saves around 1/3 of a gallon of water per tray
  • cuts back on energy use by not having to heat water to wash the trays
  • reduces the amount of detergents released into the environment

Reduction in Food Waste

Several food waste scraping and measurement days have been staged in the Dining Hall to heighten awareness about the amount of food wasted on campus and to help reduce that waste.

Locally Produced Food

The Dining Hall is serving more locally produced food, and posting signs to identify that which is local. For the past few years, all food served at the opening dinner for faculty has been produced locally.


In order to reduce the amount of material headed to landfills or incinerators, we compost all the food waste and napkins from our dining all. Additionally, the plates, cups, and dinner ware used for picnics are also compostable.