Sustainable Stories: The da Vinci School

Editor’s Note: We want to learn how other companies approach sustainability, so we’re publishing a series of posts featuring innovative companies and people who are doing their part to support our planet. See below for an interview with Mary Ann Greene, founding director of The da Vinci School. 

Tell us a little bit about The da Vinci School.

Located in Dallas, Texas, The da Vinci School is a non-profit preschool and kindergarten program founded in 1987. The da Vinci School focuses on science as the springboard for our curriculum. Within the context of a science theme, the teachers incorporate the full range of developmental skills: pre-reading and reading, math, fine and gross motor development, the arts, cognitive skills, etc. This makes for a fun, hands-on and very interesting classroom experience, which also teaches great observation and thinking skills.

Why is renewable energy important to the school?

A large part of the focus on science involves understanding nature, all forms of animal and plant life, weather, energy and taking care of our planet. Our renewable energy features serve as an on-site example of how we generate energy from the sun and the wind, and demonstrate that we are looking for clean ways to run our school and take care of the environment. It is an example for the children as well as the broader community.

What are some of your sustainable efforts?

Our primary focus is on health – the health of the classroom, the air we breathe, the surfaces we touch and have in contact with our bodies, the food and water we feed our bodies, and what we are doing to protect our planet’s health. Here are just some of the things we’re doing:

  • Use safe cleaning products, like vinegar
  • Serve filtered water to drink and organic foods for snacks
  • Collect rainwater for irrigation of our drought-tolerant landscape and generate power from solar panels and a wind turbine
  • Avoid using any toxic pesticides or herbicides
  • Recycle throughout the school
  • Use glass or stainless steel for food storage and limit the use of soft plastics
  • Compost many of our food scraps in worm bins or in a compost bin
  • Use natural daylight to light our classrooms; every room has windows that can be opened for fresh air
  • Purchase 100 percent renewable power when we are using more than we generate onsite

In addition to these efforts, every material we use in the building of our school campus was carefully and thoughtfully chosen.

How did you come to use Green Mountain Energy as your service provider?

We have used Green Mountain Energy since it started. We believe Green Mountain has the values we support and what is needed for this planet now and into the future.

Where can people learn more about The da Vinci School?

Visit our website at www.davincischool.org. You will also find video interviews about the construction of our campus in 2010, which includes many of our sustainable features, at www.davincicampus.com.