Cornwall on Hudson – As part of its ongoing commitment to become a greener, more sustainable institution, The Storm King School began consuming electricity generated by local wind farms. To that end, SKS has chosen as its supplier, renewable energy firm Viridian Power Company, headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut.
Viridian Independent Associate Eric Stewart says that the school is on the vanguard of using alternative energy to power its facilities. While New York State has allowed an open electricity and natural gas market for many years, it has recently seen an increase in the number of companies offering alternative energy sources. According to Mr. Stewart, only about 20% of customers in New York know they now have the option to choose another supplier of power, as opposed to traditional utilities. “I feel this is a tremendous opportunity for the school, Viridian and the environment…Now The Storm King School is helping to contribute to this huge ripple effect at a cleaner, healthier and greener grid,” says Mr. Stewart.
The Storm King School is acquiring electricity powered by wind from U.S wind farms, which include the High Sheldon Wind Farm in Strykersville, N.Y. The school has also enrolled in Viridian’s “Simply Right 100” natural gas plan that provides for 100% carbon offsets, i.e. the replacement of all of the carbon it expends in producing the natural gas. One of the offsets includes planting trees in places such as the Amazon.
“I think it’s incumbent on us as a 21st Century school to do it, to teach our kids about it, to be consistent with the movement to create a sustainable planet,” says Storm King Head of School Paul Domingue. The school has already implemented a series of ecologically beneficial changes including installing ultra high efficiency natural gas furnaces and high efficiency lighting, introducing a campus-wide recycling program and employing a landscaper that uses all natural fertilizers and pest control methods. Future campus construction plans incorporate LEED certifiable standards.
In addition, the school’s well-regarded food service provides students with meals made with natural and when in season, organic ingredients from local farms in the Hudson Valley. “We are always looking for new ways to incorporate our local farmers into our menus. For example, “most of our produce comes from a local, aquaponic farm which is organic,” says SKS Head Chef Moises Ortega. The dining hall also serves locally sourced meats.
Another plan, currently in its design stage, is the building of a highly efficient and environmentally sound wastewater treatment plant on school grounds. “I’m committed to making this a greener campus, and to bring it as far along that road as our resources permit,” says Mr. Domingue.