Sustainability at Berkshire
Berkshire School's commitment to environmental stewardship harkens back to the school's founding practices in 1907, when a respect for natural resources was exercised by all. Today, Berkshire is a leader among independent schools in advancing the principles of sustainability, with a culture of conservation and environmental responsibility ingrained across campus and throughout all programs.
In 2013, Berkshire was named a Green Ribbon School by the Department of Education, one of 64 schools in the nation and one of only 10 private schools at the time. The award honors schools and districts for “exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways.” (US Department of Education)
Berkshire uses a conceptual model to present sustainability as the pursuit toward three interrelated objectives: environmental integrity, economic justice, and social equity. In this definition, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to begin thinking about sustainability from any of these three perspectives. In addition, the school has a Director of Sustainability and a sustainability committee tasked by the administration to establish sustainable principles and practices that enhance the positive transformation of the campus community through the following goals:
Education/Administration- Promote education and research on social, economic, and environmental sustainability by building community, student, faculty, and staff awareness.
Energy- Create a net zero Green House Gas emissions (GHG) campus through energy efficiency, conservation, on-site generation and strategic procurement of clean and renewable energy.
Food- Create a local and organic closed loop food system by observing sustainability criteria for all food purchasing, preparation and service, cleaning, waste disposal, and purchase of equipment and supplies.
Land Use- Protect and maintain the natural campus environment through restoration, preservation, and education while enhancing the campus as a classroom.
Procurement/Disposal- Through efficient procurement strategies, processes, and systems, organize the acquisition and responsible use of resources in a manner that supports a “triple bottom line" of economy, society, and environment. Reduce and ultimately eliminate waste streams on campus with the ultimate goal of a net zero waste campus through implementation of “cradle to cradle" processes and practices.