White House Council on Environmental Quality Acting Chair Mike Boots and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Mark Schaefer joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on July 22, 2014 to congratulate the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees on their achievements at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Carmel High School was one of 48 schools that was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School. Through everyday practices, policies, and education, CHS shines as a green school. Contributions made by administrators, teachers, and students foster a robust learning community devoted to health, sustainability, and environmental, and science education.
CHS has reduced its energy costs by installing energy saving bulbs, electronic ballasts, and LED lighting, and through energy education with Cinergistic (formerly Energy Education, Inc.). Over the past 20 years, CHS has reduced its total energy usage by 72 percent, greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 50 percent, and water consumption by nearly 55 percent. Trash compactors are used to reduce waste removal trips and landfill volume.
Students use outdoor facilities for study and exercise, such as the arts garden, cross country course, rain garden, and wetlands. Student health is addressed through the use of green cleaning products, an Integrated Pest Management program, a ban on smoking, and the use of low-emitting paints, carpets, and other supplies to protect indoor and outdoor air quality. Air filters are replaced routinely, and facilities are inspected for moisture and mold. CHS uses a fuel-efficient bus fleet, and has policies against no bus idling and for offloading 25 feet from the school.
CHS offers its students environmental education through earth science and physical geology courses, Advanced Placement environmental science, and Advanced Placement human geography. A civil engineering and architecture class, a Project Lead the Way course, teaches green building principles. Students in the Sustainability and Environmental Club grow and evaluate food in the district-sponsored community garden, and assist in educating their peers about recycling and environmentalism. Some students also serve on the Carmel Green Teen board, which awards up to $6,500 in microgrants to student groups who create projects to reduce pollution, conserve natural resources, and/or save energy. CHS students have won grants to provide compact fluorescent light bulbs to 105 local homes, install occupancy sensors in CHS restrooms, provide rain-barrel and composting workshops to the community, plant trees and butterfly bushes, install water-saving showerheads in the school and community locker rooms, and purchase a pergola to display recycled art in the CHS arts garden.