Sustainability

As outlined in our school’s Strategic Plan, we strive to integrate the concept and practices of sustainability into operations, programming, and planning. It informs our curriculum, our thought process, and our daily lives. In fact, sustainability is inextricable from WA’s core values and mission.

Our campus is a "living laboratory" that reflects and enables environmental values. From our dining hall to our on-site renewable energy installations to our campus vegetation, we strive to achieve best practices. Issues of sustainability are addressed in both humanities and science classes, while student groups work on community programming to build more environmental awareness. Hilltoppers routinely volunteer to help address challenges of food insecurity in the city of Worcester as part of the WA Community, Food, and Health project. Meanwhile the Academy has entered into long-term renewable energy power purchase agreements to move us closer to a region-wide sustainable energy system. The Academy also partners with local organizations working on the health of urban forest stands to help enable a livable city.

List of 4 items.

  • Nexamp Community Solar Initiative

    Go Solar. Save Money. No Rooftop Required.
    Achieve the honorable by joining WA to help Massachusetts reach its 2020 milestone of being powered by 15% clean renewable energy sources!

    WA has set a goal of having WA families, friends, and alums with eligible utility accounts match its in-progress 1,300 kW solar project by participating in community solar energy. WA's solar developer Nexamp, a Massachusetts company, offers you a Solarize My Bill Community Solar program that provides:

    • Guaranteed 15% discount on solar credits for up to 20 years 
    • No installation or maintenance of any equipment on your property 
    • No upfront costs, no long-term commitment, and no service fees 
    • A partner you can count on – Worcester Academy teamed up with Nexamp to install 92kW of solar across three campus rooftops. Through net metering, Nexamp will also offset the majority of Worcester Academy’s remaining electricity usage, providing significant energy savings for school operations. Nexamp's Community Solar program gives members of the Worcester Academy network the ability to do the same! 

    Currently 30 WA families are matching 35% of WA's solar energy commitment. The goal is to reach or exceed 100% by the 1st of June!

  • A Few Words from Our Director of Sustainability

    “Sustainability is a profound concept with multiple dimensions and complex socio-techno-ecological linkages across time and space.

    There is international consensus that social development and biospheric systems should be sustained indefinitely. In its most formal definition, sustainable development meets the needs of current generations without compromising the capacity of future generations to meet their own needs.

    Sustainability also involves asking the question of how health and well-being, as well as diverse cultures and heritages are understood, respected, and enabled into a flourishing future. The community attempts to examine the means by which our lives today are informed, empowered, and enriched through the cross sections of these posits.”
  • Strategic Plan Sustainability Goals

    GOAL 2
    A Worcester Academy education will be leading edge, set apart by its relevance, commitment to leadership and engagement within and beyond the classroom.

    Strategy 5: Equip Worcester Academy to lead in adaptation and implementation of environmental sustainability practices.
    • Initiative 1: Begin the execution of a carbon neutrality plan that will result in reducing the Academy's carbon footprint by 30% within 5 years. 
    • Initiative 2: Integrate sustainability into our program and curriculum 
    GOAL 3
    Worcester Academy will assess, support, and sustain its community and educational programs through exemplary institutional systems and practices.

    Strategy 4: Build on the strength of the existing long-range financial plan to ensure Worcester Academy's long-term financial sustainability.
    • Initiative 2: Develop conservation measures to help control energy and other costs. Explore solar and wind applications as funds become available. Conversion of oil boilers to gas. 
    Strategy 6: Develop and adopt a school-wide plan for environmental responsibility and civic engagement.
    • Initiative 4: Integrate sustainability into the fabric of the school with involvement across the community by fostering values that are in line with sustainability practices, increasing professional development, hosting a regional conference and integrating sustainability into the overall Academy program.
    • Initiative 5: Form Environmental Quality Task Force to research and address the Academy's desire to create an environment that is restorative, healthy, productive, and sustainable.
  • Environmental Health and Safety

    BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS
    Pesticides
    Pesticides are regulated for use at Worcester Academy under The Children and Families Protection Act (2000), which  requires the school to complete an annual Integrated Pest Management Plan (contact information, application strategies,  vendors contracted, pesticides applied).

    Technical Data Sheets for Pesticides Applied
    333 CMR 14.00 Protection of Children and Families from Harmful Pesticides
    Locate School’s IPM Plan
     
    Asbestos
    The Academy pursues compliance with the Asbestos Hazardous Emergency Response Act (1986)(AHERA) through  documentation of asbestos containing materials on campus and maintenance of an active management plan that includes hazard prevention and reduction.

    AHERA Compliance Documents
    AHERA
    EPA Asbestos Information
    School Management Plan Requirements; Code of Federal Regulations: Chapter 40; Part 763 – Asbestos
     
    Mercury
    Mercury management is governed most directly by the state Mercury Management Act (2006)(MMA). The primary  strategy for compliance is through routine collection and proper recycling of end-of-use light bulbs that contain mercury.

    MMA
    EPA Mercury Information
     
    Indoor Air Quality
    The following campus buildings have HVAC systems equipped with air filters: Kingsley, Kellner, Rader, Warner, Walker, and Daniels.
     
    Municipal Water
    WA’s municipal water is regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act (1974)(SDWA). Annual water quality reporting (available below) is required by the SDWA and provided by the city for citizen review. While the city’s water has been in compliance within the past decade, primary potential hazards known of include lead and chlorine disinfectant by products.

    Water Filtration
    WA has filtered water stations/spigots/fountains across campus utilizing various filtration technologies.

    Radon
    The second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.A, Radon originates primarily from underground geological formations and Worcester County has indoor concentrations nearly four times greater than the national average. Select testing of campus buildings had levels lower then the EPA recommended action level of 4 pCi/L (lifetime exposure mortality risk of 7 in 1000).

    EPA Radon Information
    State/County Information
     
    DEPARTMENTS
    OSHA Hazard Communication & General Hazards
    The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (2012)(HCS) aligns with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) and provides a clear consistent method for classifying chemicals and communicating their risk. WA is required to provide OSHA Hazard Communication training to all relevant employees. Science, Arts, and Maintenance departments are the focus for compliance.

    WA OSHA Hazard Communication Program

    Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for each respective department are available thought the Sustainability Office.