Founded in 1892, and with over 800 students across 3 campuses in northern New Jersey, Eastern Christian School is the oldest and largest Christian school in the state. But recently we’ve wondered something else- are we also the greenest?
Everywhere you look today, green initiatives are en vogue. But for Christians, green initiatives aren’t a trend or even anything new. “Going green” has been our call since the Garden of Eden. And even though sin messed everything up- including this physical earth, our call is for stewardship of this beautiful, God-given creation.
One of the truly innovative features of Eastern Christian School is how seriously we take this calling. This is one very green school! Here’s a few examples:
In what is easily the biggest green initiative in our school’s history, all three of Eastern Christian’s campuses are solar powered! A total of 1,800 panels on the roofs of three campus buildings were installed in 2011 by Eagle Solar. Eagle Solar LLC, a for-profit company owned by Eastern Christian, provides both electricity and a new source of revenue from the sale of Solar Renewable Energy Credits. Since the inception of this program, we’ve generated 1.9 MM kilowatt hours of electricity, the energy equivalent of 150,000 gallons of gasoline, and have saved the equivalent of 33,000 trees!
And sorry kids- the rumors of a particularly cloudy day shutting down the power just aren’t true… we generate plenty of electricity on cloudy days too!
We’ve recently taken on-campus lighting to the next, greener level. We’re in the midst of a multi-year investment in LED light bulbs to replace fluorescents. This project requires the reworking of our electrical systems, and an investment up front, but, over the 40+ year lifespan of these bulbs, (which give off 8% more lumens and consume 83% less electricity than their older, duller fluorescent counterparts) they will pay for themselves many times over. By the time this project is done, we will have brighter, cleaner, more efficiently lit campuses at a highly reduced cost to Eastern Christian families!
Other Green Initiatives
- Like many schools in America, we have a recycling program that features bins unique to every classroom. Students and faculty are constantly reminded of the importance of recycling.
- Our high school has filtered water bottle filling stations that feature a “green ticker” that counts how many plastic water bottles we’ve saved by reusing refillable water bottles (to date, we’ve saved over 54,000 plastic water bottles).
- We’ve adopted the full suite of google docs that has substantially cut back on hard copy paper usage. In the past 5 years, our paper usage has decreased by millions of sheets annually.
- All EC cleaning supplies are green.
- We use “Green Scapes,” an environmentally friendly ice melter for our snow and ice removal services.
- We’ve replaced our hugely inefficient 1950’s and 60’s heating systems with high efficiency models. The boiler in the high school was so big- and it’s successor so small- that when we replaced it, we were able to reclaim space for an entirely new classroom. The beautiful “Learning Lab, a HS student favorite, is the result.
- In 2008, we installed a new roof on the high school, including a total redo of the ceiling insulation. We also replaced all windows. When combined with our new high efficiency heating system, our heating costs have been reduced by 70%!
Another Kind of Green
For those who don’t necessarily get excited about “going green,” we might consider another kind of green- money. Not only are these initiatives good for creation and sustainable for the future, they save our school money today- and lots of it!
Since our number one revenue source is tuition, every cost saving measure makes Christian Education at Eastern Christian more affordable for our families and allows us to keep our mission relevant. For example, Solar Power annually produces Eastern Christian School approximately $250,000 in combined energy savings and revenue from the sale of Green Energy Credits. That’s $250,000 that doesn’t have to be funded by tuition!
Sustainability For the Future
While these green initiatives have positioned EC well in the present to run an efficient affordable school system, the primary focus is on sustainability for the future. Education is as much about preparing children for the future as anything else. We take pride in setting an example for our students that God’s majestic Creation matters- and that their future matters! It is the commitment of Eastern Christian leadership to continue to model ourselves as a Christian institution that sincerely cares about the environment and costs of today as well as the world of tomorrow. After all, we don’t measure our mission in years- we measure it in generations!