Policy 7400, Conservation and Sustainability


The Board of Trustees (“Board”) is committed to the implementation of effective, comprehensive, and sustainable initiatives and programs. All Washoe County School District (“District”) schools and other facilities shall implement programs and practices which are not harmful to or which limit the depletion of natural resources, create a culture that accepts fiscal responsibility for these goals, enhance building/facility performance, and foster a sense of citizenship in students by encouraging a focus on conservation and sustainability. Such programs are designed to achieve and maintain levels of conservation which protect human health and safety, prevent injury to plant and animal life, prevent damage to property, and preserve the visibility, scenic, and esthetic values of the community. A program of environmental consciousness is vital to the overall health and safety of students, faculty/staff, and visitors to the District’s properties.


1. Governing Principles
a. Sustainability refers to “not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.” (Dictionary.com) Conservation refers to trying to protect, preserve, or limit how much of a resource is used.
b. Conservation and sustainability efforts can greatly impact the health of students and staff, school buildings, and the environment in general.
c. Sustainability is an important priority that is critical to the future. The District, therefore, is committed to being an active participant in conservation and environmental health efforts in areas to include:
i. Air and Noise Pollution;
ii. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy;
iii. Facility Condition;
iv. Chemical and Environmental Contaminant Hazards;
v. Recycling;
vi. Water;
vii. Landscaping and Gardens; and
viii. Capital Construction
d. The District shall comply with local, state and federal laws and regulations related to the efforts detailed in this policy.
2. Governing Practices
a. Students shall be introduced to curriculum to allow them to understand the variety of sustainability and environmental health issues encountered in schools and how they can contribute to sustaining a school environmental health program. Student involvement will enhance their knowledge of the issues that affect them, and will give them a sense of ownership and accountability in the ultimate success of the program. The District will provide resources and guidance on how to incorporate sustainability within the curriculum and how to build student leadership skills and community engagement around sustainability principles.
b. A successful conservation and environmental practices program relies on the active participation of all persons involved. From school administrators and teachers, to nurses and maintenance personnel, all District staff have a role in protecting the community’s environmental health. As such, the District shall provide training and resources to ensure that faculty and staff understand their roles and how they contribute to the success of the sustainability program.
c. All District schools and facilities shall implement a waste-reduction, reuse, recycling, and energy conservation plan (“Sustainability Plan”). The Sustainability Plan shall provide information on each facility’s recycling and waste reduction activities and energy consumption. The Office of Facilities Management will support schools in drafting a plan which is specific to their school.
d. The District’s conservation and environmental health efforts, where feasible, may include, but are not limited to, the following:
i. Clean Fuel Vehicles. The District shall, when feasible, purchase buses that run on alternative fuels rather than diesel. Alternative fuel use results in lower emissions to the environment.
ii. Safe Routes to Schools. The District shall identify safe routes to schools and encourage walking and riding bikes to school.
iii. Reducing Vehicle Emissions through Idle Free Zones. The District, when possible, will institute Idle Free Zones at its schools and other District properties. Unnecessary idling wastes gas, pollutes the air and increases noise levels.
iv. Indoor Air Quality. Poor indoor air quality can also impact the comfort and health of students and staff, which can in turn affect concentration, attendance, and classroom performance. The District shall strive to provide clean air to all learning spaces and use low volatile organic compound (“VOC”) materials in construction and renovation.
v. Outdoor Activities and Air Pollution. The District is aware of potential health threats to students, faculty and staff due to outdoor air pollution. The District shall follow the guidance of the Washoe County Health District when scheduling and participating in outdoor activities.
vi. Renewable Energy.
1. It is the intention of the District to support state initiatives to expand and accelerate the development of a sustainable and self-sufficient solar renewable energy industry. The District shall install solar energy systems where practical with a goal of achieving 20% of energy derived from solar resources.
2. The District shall incorporate geothermal ground source heat pump systems in all new construction and, where practical, major renovations.
vii. Energy Efficiency. The District will incorporate energy efficiency measures in all major renovations and new construction with a goal of lowering energy use, as well as efforts to reduce energy consumption and the District’s carbon footprint.
viii. Facility Health. Sustainability programs that encourage environmental health are important for maintaining safe, healthy, and long-lasting school facilities. Routine maintenance and well-designed upgrades and improvements can extend the life of a school building, improve the health of the learning environment, and generate cost savings through increased energy and resource efficiency.
ix. Chemical and Environmental Contaminant Hazards. The District seeks to reduce the possible exposure of students, faculty/staff, and visitors to District property to potentially hazardous chemicals and substances which are used in the cleaning and maintenance of District facilities. The District shall use environmentally sensitive cleaning and maintenance products in the cleaning of all schools and facilities when the costs associated with such purchase or use are reasonable and do not place an undue burden on the efficient operation of the District.
x. Recycling
1. The District will continue recycling and waste reduction practices to:
a. reduce the amount of waste disposed in landfills that could have otherwise been recycled, reused or composted,
b. reduce the fiscal burden of landfill disposal, and
c. reduce greenhouse gas emissions from waste hauling and disposal.
2. The District shall continue to refine procedures for single stream recycling of materials as provided by local sanitation and recycling companies. This includes, but is not limited to, mixed waste paper, cardboard, chipboard, plastics (#1-7), aluminum, steel, glass, magazines, and newspapers.
3. The purchase of recycled products is encouraged when the product: Meets applicable standards; can be substituted for a comparable non-recycled product; and costs are comparable to a non-recycled product.
xi. Water
1. Ensuring safe drinking water is important as students and staff; and they may consume a significant amount of their daily water intake from schools.
2. The District will ensure that water systems are properly maintained. Improperly maintained water systems can harm the environment and have financial implications (e.g., higher water bills). Leaking pipes lead to water loss, which can lead to property damage and air quality issues.
3. Low flow fixtures, efficient irrigation systems, xeriscaping and the use of reclaimed water shall be encouraged at all facilities and schools.
xii. Landscaping and Gardens. The District will promote and support school gardens and the planting of trees to connect students, faculty, and staff with nature and encourage healthy lifestyle choices.
xiii. Capital Construction. The District shall incorporate green building standards to achieve the goals outlined herein in all major renovation and new construction to create healthy and efficient learning environments which also reduces the facilities carbon footprint

1. Through this policy and any associated documents, the District is committed to improving:
a. conservation efforts with efficient and effective energy usage by reducing energy use and increasing the use of renewable energy;
b. the environment within the schools for all students, faculty, staff and visitors through smart construction, operation and purchasing; and
c. the environmental impact of the District and the health of students, faculty staff and the community through healthy alternative transportation programs.
1. This policy reflects the goals of the District’s Strategic Plan and aligns/complies with the governing documents of the District, to include:
a. Board Policy 7100, Capital Projects and Facilities Management
b. Board Policy 7510, School Bus Replacement
2. This policy complies with Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) and Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) to include:
a. Chapter 386, Local Administrative Organization, and specifically:
i. NRS 386.4159 – 386.418, Recycling of Materials; Use of Recycled Products
ii. NRS 386.419 – 386.4195, Environmentally Sensitive Cleaning Products for Floor Surfaces in Public Schools
3. This policy complies with the following federal laws and regulations, to include:
a. National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq.)
b. Clean Air Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. § 7401 et seq.)
c. Clean Water Act of 1972 (33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq.)
d. Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. § 13201 et seq.)
e. Executive Order (EO) 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks

1. This document shall be reviewed as part of the bi-annual review and reporting process, following each regular session of the Nevada Legislature. The Board of Trustees shall receive notification of any required changes to the policy as well as an audit of the accompanying governing documents.

2. Administrative regulations, and/or other associated documents, will be developed as necessary to implement this policy.

3. The Energy & Sustainability Manager, through the Chief Operations Officer, shall prepare an Annual Sustainability Report to be submitted to the Board of Trustees each year. The Annual Sustainability Report shall include waste preventive measures that have been adopted and implemented by the Department of Education for the preceding fiscal year.

Adopted on June 6, 2017