Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School

August 6th, 2012 by Connie Kelley

Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School (Stevens) models the “green” initiatives our district has implemented since 2007, and was recently awarded U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School status in recognition of our efforts. In addition to our in-class environmental education efforts, the school itself serves as a real-world model of healthy and environmentally responsible behavior in practice. Here are some of the key environmental areas our school excels in, and examples of how we achieve our “green” accomplishments:

Our school meets ASHRAE standards for indoor air quality and ventilation.

Air and Water:

  • A 2002 ESCO Project with Chevron Energy Solutions included guaranteed water savings via retrofits of low flow equipment.
  • The school’s water source, treated by a borough treatment plant, continually produces high quality water that exceeds EPA standards and is compliant with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • All schools in the district are tested for radon.
  • Asthma workshops are offered through “Open Airways”, an American Lung Association program.

Paper Recycling in the Chambersburg Area School District

Waste and Chemicals:

  • Stevens partners with IESI, a local waste management company, for Single-Stream Recycling. In 2008, the district earned the Professional Recyclers of PA award.
  • The Custodial Department uses Green Seal Certified, ISSA, and Costar paper, janitorial, carpet cleaning, and floor scrubbing products.
  • An integrated pest management plan and a chemical management program that selects the EPA’s Design for the Environment approved products, is in place district-wide.

Student Health:

Reaping the nutritional benefits of a healthy school garden.

  • Our Food Service Department started the program this school year. This USDA program provides nutrition and exercise education, encouraging building healthy plates of food and practicing physical fitness.
  • Besides physical education classes and daily recess outdoors, Stevens conducts a Field Day in May. Stations encourage fitness, team building, endurance, leadership, and competition.
  • Wellness Days with Summit Health for 3rd graders includes educational stations about exercise, anger management, tobacco, nutrition, drugs/alcohol, self-esteem, and fire/ police safety topics.

Schoolyard Habitats:

Student planting in a school garden.

  • Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School “green” space provides ecological and social benefits. The property includes a community-use soccer field, playground, 40-foot x 40-foot fenced garden, and a row of Bluebird nesting boxes from a class project.
  • Last summer, Stevens partnered with Penn State Cooperative Extension, the 4-H Program, and Local Master Gardeners to implement the Harvest 4-Health program. A 40-foot x 40-foot garden was designed, planted, and managed, harvesting 225 pounds of food by more than 60 students in the Kids Learning After School Program.


Since 2009, Stevens has earned Energy Star Labels for 3 consecutive years; with an Energy Star percentage reduction of 36.8% for October 2010 to October 2011.

  • An Energy Management Program has been implemented district-wide. Stevens has saved over $78,400 or 27.19% in 53 months of benchmarking.
  • Automated heating, ventilation, & air conditioning (HVAC) controls were added to the school. Monitoring allows for reduced use during unoccupied times; holidays and summers are planned shut down periods.
  • Stevens’ environmental impact from electric and oil savings is equal to 404 equivalent metric tons of CO2 reduction. This equates to 10,324 trees planted and grown for 10 years!
  • More than half of the 280 students walk to school from nearby multi-family housing developments. With bussing needs greatly reduced, transportation is efficient.

A culture of energy conservation, helping to protect the environment, reduce operating costs and use of natural resources, is evident at Stevens, modeling environmental stewardship for students. Via our building energy performance, activities to promote healthy living, and enriching programs in partnership with varied community groups, being green” resonates at Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School.

Connie Kelley is the Energy Manager of the Chambersburg Area School District.

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