The new sustainability coordinator for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools told the Board of Education on Thursday night how his environmental efforts are saving the school system more than $100,000 this year.
Sustainability Coordinator Dan Schnitzer said he analyzes three elements every time he starts a program or collaborates on a program – academic impact, environmental impact, and financial impact.
Schnitzer said he’s implemented measures to make schools more cost-efficient, including “literally rolling up sleeves and getting into some dumpsters.”
At the Board of Education meeting, Schnitzer said cost-cutting measures include reducing the number of dumpsters and frequency of dumpster pickups. “It’s one of those areas where no one complains and so we assume it’s not a problem,” said Schnitzer. “But we can probably do better, and we’ve been able to do that.”
Schnitzer also cut costs by upgrading from incandescent bulbs to more energy and cost-efficient LED bulbs. He said that all together these efforts resulted in $128,000 in savings.
He’s the first person to hold the job of sustainability coordinator, which is funded through a permanent utility budget reallocation. Assistant Superintendent for Support Services Todd LoFrese said the savings from Schnitzer’s work exceeded his salary.
Shnitzer supported a composting program at Phillips Middle School. It was started by a group of students who call themselves the “Trash Terminators.” Now, students all across the school system compost their food scraps after lunch.
Superintendent Tom Forcella talked about eating lunch at Phillips last year.
“It was interesting seeing how the kids were very seamless in knowing where to put stuff,” said Forcella. “But I was really nervous because I was afraid of putting my container in the wrong place.”