Ojai Valley School has taken deliberate and innovative steps to become a leader in sustainability and conservation initiatives among independent schools. These initiatives include dramatically reducing water usage, pursuing energy efficiency improvements on both campuses, replanting native trees, incorporating green-building practices in new building projects, and embracing solar technology.
Most notably, 1,001 solar panels now cover 19,016 square feet of hillsides and rooftops at the Upper Campus. The project is supplying 96% of the electrical demand for the high school, reducing the school’s annual carbon footprint by more than 300,000 pounds.
With planned additional energy efficiency measures and greater conservation awareness, the school hopes to move close to 100% renewable energy in coming years. “The solar project continues the school’s commitment to sustainability and preservation of our natural resources,” OVS President/CEO Michael J. Hall-Mounsey said. “The school has taken a bold step to reduce its environmental impact and demonstrate that sustainable practices will be a cornerstone of the school experience as we enter our second century.”
Commitment to the environment and outdoor education are at the heart of Ojai Valley School’s program, and are even more important in the 21st Century when living in a drought prone state such as California. The philosophy of the school, as well as the Portrait of a Graduate, emphasize the importance of being a steward of the environment and respecting and appreciating the natural world. At its core, the school philosophy is about doing the right thing. The school logically extends this principle to caring for our shared environment.
Here are additional ways OVS teaches and demonstrates its commitment to environmental sustainability:
• PK-12 environmental education in classes and activities
• Comprehensive recycling programs
• Retrofitted lights with energy-efficient LED bulbs and fixtures
• Water-efficient irrigation systems and plumbing
• Drought-tolerant and native plantings, including reforestation of native oaks
• Non-chemical fertilizers, pesticides and cleaning products
• State-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant at Upper Campus
• Partnering with local farmers to provide produce in the school’s own gardens