We use a Toyota Prius for our town runs and to shuttle instructors to and from the airport. The Prius remains one of the top-rated green vehicles because of its gas mileage and very low emissions.
We are working with Cushman Design Group Inc. on plans to remodel our 1935 vintage staff house. Energy efficiency, use of local materials, and environmentally friendly products are high priorities for the designers and NOLS Alaska staff.
NOLS Mexico meets 90 percent of its electricity needs from solar energy. Creative Energies of Wyoming has just completed an upgrade of our system in February 2007. We expect to generate 98 percent of our electricity from solar in the future.
• This spring we are converting from a propane water heater to a solar water heater, and we continue to reuse all grey water for plant irrigation.
NOLS Pacific Northwest
We converted a bike donated by our operations manager, Mark Langston, into an XtraCycle sport utility bicycle, making it easier for staff to ride into town for bigger errands rather than drive.
We aim to have all of the Pacific Northwest diesel vehicles and tractors running on biodiesel fuels this year.
We’re using 100 percent post consumer waste recycled paper for all our in-house printing and copying.
NOLS Rocky Mountain
Although these goals are all still in the research phase, the list gives an indication of specific actions we plan to take:
We’ve committed to reducing our paper consumption by 25 percent in one year, measured by purchase and weight.
By the summer of 2010, 20 percent of student food will be locally sourced, including produce and meats, and by 2008 we will have an organic garden in Lander.
- We are working to decrease facility energy consumption by 20 percent, measured in BTUs (volume, not dollar) and fuel consumption by 5 percent, which is a modest percentage but a large actual number of gallons of fuel.
Construction is 90 percent complete on our strawbale bunkhouse for instructors. Made from oat straw that was cut and baled from a neighboring farm, it provides excellent heat and sound insulation (reducing the amount of energy needed to heat the space).
- NOLS Patagonia is actively participating in the Citizens’ Coalition for Aisen, which opposes the construction of dams on the Baker and Pascua rivers. These rivers are outflows of the Northern and Southern Patagonia Ice Fields, which, in addition to being a spectacular classroom for NOLS, are the third and fourth largest chunks of ice on the planet.
- Our environmental initiatives this season includes xeroscaping (or xeriscaping), the use of native plants in landscaping.
- In order to learn ways to further conserve our precious resources, we will be participating in an energy and water audit this season. We’re also looking into installing solar panels on the roof of our office.