This Activity explains how to work with your school or district to reduce water usage. Not only is water expensive, but it is also a valuable resource that needs to be conserved. There are many simple actions schools, teachers, staff, and students can take to save thousands of gallons (and thousands of dollars) each year. By reducing your school's water usage, not only will you be saving your school or district money, but you will also help to protect one of our Earth's most precious resources.
ESTABLISH YOUR SCHOOL’S GRADES OF GREEN TEAM. Ensure that your school has established a Grades of Green Team to help implement Grades of Green’s Research and Advocacy and any other Grades of Green Activities your school takes on in the future.
GET YOUR SCHOOL ON BOARD Set up a meeting with your school’s Grades of Green Team leaders and your principal and campus leaders to discuss implementing Grades of Green’s Energy Classroom Presentation Activity. Let them know why you think it's important for your school to spread awareness about the Earth conservation and protecting the quality of the Earth. Click here for an example email to send to your principal and an example agenda. Encourage your principal and Grades of Green team leaders and members to register on Grades of Green’s website and affiliate themselves with your school’s profile page so these leaders can track your school’s progress. If any questions come up during the meeting, please contact Grades of Green at (310) 607-0175 and we can help answer them. You can also email us here in advance with any additional questions, to get additional tips, or to schedule a practice meeting to help prepare.
SET GOALS AND START TRACKING. What do you want to accomplish by implementing Grades of Green’s this Activity? Whether it’s setting a goal of the number of students involved or the number of gallons of water saved, trees planted, or waste diverted, set a goal and begin tracking your progress so you know when it’s time to CELEBRATE! Record your starting baseline metrics before beginning so you know when you’ve accomplished your goal!
RECRUIT VOLUNTEERS One volunteer can run this Activity, but a team of volunteers can join in with you to meet with administrators and staff, review the water bills, and implement the water reduction program. You can recruit volunteers by emailing the student body, parents, and teachers. Meet with staff and your Grades of Green Team to see who might be interested in working on reducing water usage at your school.
CONDUCT A WATER AUDIT AND GATHER DATA Walk around your school and make a list of observations on your school’s water usage. Brainstorm with your Grades of Green Team where and how you can reduce the amount of water used. Leaky faucets? Broken sprinkler head? Toilets that run? Watering plants/lawns during the hottest part of the day? Moving leaves and other debris from the sidewalks with a hose? Make a note of these water practices - leaky faucets can be fixed, someone can replace sprinkler heads and water gardens earlier or later in the day to minimize evaporation, and janitors can use a broom instead of the hose to clean hardscape. Next, find the school or district representative that manages the water bill and ask to receive a copy each month. You may want to reference this guide to increasing water efficiency as you conduct your audit. Before you start the campaign, document your baseline metrics (quantity and cost), reference the current water bill as a starting point. Your school might purchase a water monitoring device to measure your water usage and track your water conservation progress. Assign a Grades of Green Team member or volunteer to record the school’s reduction in water usage each month. You may also choose to coordinate with the local water provider to have them conduct a professional water audit.
SET GOALS AND OUTLINE STRATEGIES TO ACHIEVE THEM Brainstorm with your Grades of Green Team to set realistic and measurable goals. What do you want to accomplish by implementing Grades of Green’s School Wide Water Reduction Activity? Set a goal for the number of students involved in or educated through the Activity or the percentage reduction in water usage you want to achieve.
For example, your goal might be to reduce your school’s water bill by 20% by identifying malfunctioning sprinklers and toilets and by encouraging students to reduce their water use around campus. Your strategies might include meeting with operations management to survey campus sprinklers and toilets and come up with a plan for replacing them, as well as placing signage around every water source to remind everyone to conserve water.
SHARE RESULTS Share the results of the water audit with key leaders (i.e. custodian) and outline water-saving recommendations. Seek input from school and district operations personnel to establish best practices for conserving water on campus.
RAISE AWARENESS Create a campaign to raise awareness throughout the school community about your water reduction efforts. Your campaign may include flyers that can be sent home with students or posted on campus; Earth Tips about why it’s important to conserve and how to do it that can be posted in your school newsletter or broadcast over school announcements; displays that highlight facts and tips about saving water; or school newspaper articles that inspire the community to get involved (if you can have a student write the article, even better!).
EDUCATE YOUR SCHOOL Talk to the teachers, students, and staff to see how much water they can reduce at your school for the year. Distribute this hand-out (link to handbook) for the top 5 things teachers/students can do to reduce their water usage. Ask teachers if they can hang up signs reminding their students to "Turn Off The Tap" when they finish using the faucet. Share curriculum resources with teachers, like the ones HERE (different materials for a variety of grade levels from K-12), to inspire in-class water experiments & activities. Show them data on why conserving water by reducing water usage is important; go to the US EPA for some great water conservation resources.
MAKE IT FUN! Turn your school’s water reduction efforts into a contest by having students guess how much water their school can save in a month! Have a party at the end of the contest to celebrate the winners and the school’s success. Read water-saving Earth Tips during the morning announcements. Create a “pledge” banner that students may sign or stamp to commit to saving water at school and at home. Raffle off a reusable water bottle to students that make that pledge. Monitor water savings and track progress toward your goals! Broadcast progress to maintain awareness and maximize participation in the water-saving efforts. Consider using graphic displays of the reduction in water usage over time.
MEASURE THE FINAL RESULTS Remember that goal you set earlier? How’d it go? How many students did you reach or how much water did you conserve? Measure the results your school achieved by taking on Grades of Green’s School Wide Water Reduction Activity.
CELEBRATE AND SHARE THE RESULTS Congratulations! You completed Grades of Green’s School Wide Water Reduction Activity at your school and we couldn’t be prouder. You helped inspire and empower students to care for the environment, and the earth is just that much better off as a result! Email us the results you achieved, as well as any photos or videos of your completed Grades of Green Activity. Tag @gradesofgreen on social media so we can help share your story! Whether it’s “before/after” photos or videos showing how you took on the Activity, or a shot of your Grades of Green Team in action, email your Advisor and tag us on social media so we can help shout it from the mountaintops on our website, e-newsletter, and social media. And don’t forget to let your school community and city government know about your great and green accomplishments.
MAKE IT SUSTAINABLE!
What can you do to make this Activity sustainable at your school for years to come? Brainstorm with your Grades of Green Team ways to make the Activity sustainable and part of your school’s everyday culture. We suggest making Grades of Green positions permanent, as well as adding tips and suggestions to your PTA or volunteer handbook and adding a date to the calendar now to re-educate students next year as well!
Benefit to Students
The School Wide Water Reduction Activity teaches students that simple everyday changes can save large amounts of water. Students can also take water saving techniques they learn at school and apply them in their homes, thus creating water conservation habits they will carry with them for a lifetime. A small amount of effort can help decrease water usage and save money!
Benefits to the Environment
The Water Reduction Activity will have the benefit of decreasing water usage, as well as reducing the power and emissions generated in the process of transporting water to the school.
This program can save the school thousands of dollars by reducing the school’s water bill.