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Sustainability at PHS

Sustainability Elements on Campus

At Presidio Hill School we are active participants in energy conservation, composting, recycling, and modeling how to harness alternative energy sources. Our campus features numerous sustainable elements that help restore, maintain, and regenerate our site, teaching our students and reminding visitors that even our simple day-to-day tasks can have impact on the environment. As children, teachers, and others visit our campus, it is our goal to surround them with practical lessons in how to live more responsibly and to preserve our planet.

Following three pillars identified by the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Center for Green Schools we strive to increase our awareness and practice in these key areas.

Improve occupants’ health and performance

Reduce environmental impacts and costs  

Increase sustainability literacy

Native Landscaping: Our school grounds have been replanted with Californian native plants. Shade tolerant woodland plants help erosion control, limit storm water run-off, produce oxygen, and serve as habitat for community organisms. Our students efforts have earned our campus a National Wildlife Habitat Certification. 

Smart Irrigation: An automated watering system has been installed throughout our campus. Mobile control, automated forecast monitoring, and weekly usage updates allow our staff and students to monitor our water usage.

The Science Lab & Rooftop Garden - Models of Sustainability

Rainwater Harvesting: A collection system on our rooftop garden allows students to irrigate our vegetable gardens and native plants with captured rainwater. 

Hydroponic Gardens: Alternative gardening and farming models include our mini hydroponic systems. 6th grade students become “botanists” as they learn the maintenance and water-saving techniques of “water only” farming. The garden water is sourced from our rain barrels. (kindergarten is interested too)

Kindergarten building habitats & investigating the rooftop compost and warm farm. 

Warm Farm: Food scraps from student lunches, staff coffee grounds, and veggie crops feed our warms and other compost organisms.

Low-Flow Water Faucets: Have been installed in the science lab sinks saving a gallon of waterflow per minute.

LED Lighting: Cleaner LED lighting brightens the science lab offering students a healthier, more productive lighting environment, and demonstrating energy efficient lighting systems.

Motion Sensor Switches: Newly installed overhead motion save energy by automatically turning off when occupants leave the room.

Soaps & Cleaners: Biodegradable soaps and cleaners are used in the science lab helping limit the amount of chemicals we breathe and reducing our impact on San Francisco's water systems. 

Solar Energy: Rooftop solar panels (under construction) will supply our science room with sun-generated electricity offsetting some the labs energy demands by powering our hydroponic garden lighting system, science microscopes, and student iPads and chromebooks. Students can “plug-in” and experience the variations of the sun’s energy output.

Middle school students & our directly of technology installing solar panels in the fog.

Involving students in the design-process is part of the middle school experience at PHS. We know that increasing students environmental knowledge while also employing instructional practices that focus on interdisciplinary and place-based problem solving influence behavior change towards sustainability.

We know that students for whom the environment is a context for learning perform better on measures of general academic performance.