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.

  • Worcester Academy Solar Energy Initiative

    WA's commitments to renewable energy are aligned with Massachusetts' 2020 goal  of being powered by 15% clean renewable energy sources.
     
    In 2010 the Academy partnered with Nexamp by entering a 20-year purchase agreement for a 93 kW (DC) solar pv roof-mounted system installed on Daniels Gym and Stoddard and Heydon dormitories. The system generates close to 100,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy a year providing 5% of campus demand. 
     
    In 2017-2018 the Academy began another 20-year purchase agreement with Nexamp for solar net metering credits generated by 1.3 MW (DC) of pv solar capacity from three sites installed across Worcester County with a total capacity of 3.9 MW (DC): a former corn field in New Braintree; a former stage and storage site for sand & gravel quarry in Westminster; and a former industrially zoned lot in Dudley, MA vacant for 25+ years. The project is expected to produce 1.7 million+ kWh a year, equivalent to 85% of the Academy’s electricity consumption. (Solar project site pictures below.)
     
    Further through Community Solar opportunities Academy employees, families, and neighborhood organizations committed to an additional 450 kW (DC) of installed solar energy.
  • 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). To view WA's plan, see Roger Randor in the Maintenance Office in Dexter Hall.

    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.

    Worcester Academy AHERA Annual Compliance Letter
    AHERA Compliance Documents
    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.