Texas School for the Deaf wins green competition

The Texas School for the Deaf in Austin will receive $130,000 in improvements as the grand prize winner in the Global Green USA Green School Makeover Competition.

The School for the Deaf was selected by a panel of judges out of a pool of more than 220 public, private and charter K-12 schools that submitted proposals for green school renovations. Global Green USA is a non-profit organization focusing on the environment.

The school will receive $65,000 for school renovations and an additional $65,000 worth of technical assistance.

“Unlike other public schools, we live on this campus 24 hours a day and we generate a lot of waste,” says Claire Bugen, superintendent of the Texas School for the Deaf.This prize will help us take our fledgling recycling efforts to the next level and install some important tools, like automatic faucets, to help us become more sustainable.”

The School for the Deaf plans to carry out the following improvements:

  • Retrofit light fixtures so that energy-efficient bulbs and motion-activated lights can be used to conserve energy.
  • Reduce water usage by installing hands-free faucets and collecting rainwater in barrels to be used for watering the school grounds.
  • Convert to reusable water bottles and install a tap filtration system, which will enable the school to eliminate $20,000 a year spent on bottled water.
  • Install hands-free hand dryers in restrooms to reduce paper use and save materials from going to the landfills. It will also reduce supply costs for the school, cut down on waste and reduce staff time replenishing paper towels and emptying trash.
  • Install recycling bins near trashcans across campus to make recycling easier and encourage recycling.
  • Educate school community on recycling and spread habits to home life to support a greener lifestyle.

Four schools were named runners-up in the competition, and each of them will receive $2,500 to carry out green upgrades. They are:

Garlough Environmental School, St. Paul, Minn.; Heritage Middle School, Berwyn, Ill.; Samuel Powel Elementary School, Philadelphia; and Zimmerman School House/Abi's Place, Coral Springs, Fla., a school for children with disabilities.

For more information about the Green School Makeover, click here.

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