Environmental Sustainability

At CSS, we teach the fundamental concepts and practices of resource conservation, an appreciation for natural environments, and sustainability initiatives in the following distinctive ways:

  • We foster a sense of environmental stewardship in students by exposing them to the science, beauty, and wonder of the natural world in the classroom and more deeply in our expeditions and seminars. Personal interaction with the complexity and wonder of open spaces and flora and fauna of the natural world is a first step towards valuing things beyond a human framework. We believe in the importance of an intellectual understanding of the natural world. Further, we recognize that some of the most profound realizations students can have about the natural world are at a deeper and more personal level. Educational research supports the idea that students who have had exposure to natural areas value them more than students who lack such experiences.
  • Our all-campus recycling and composting efforts model responsible waste management and a commitment to minimizing our impact on the local landfills. In the Children’s School, several grade levels lead to organizing recycling efforts. Our middle and high school students are committed to responsibly managing student-created waste. We were the first school in the region to sign on with a commercial composter.
  • CSS Upper School students have participated in a national initiative called “The Green Cup Challenge,” in which schools across the country compete to conserve energy. By having our maintenance department caulk, insulate, and enact two dozen energy-saving steps, CSS decreased its energy usage by 20% as measured over a year's basis. A $4,000 investment in energy and water-saving measures yielded a return of $25,000 per year on our entire utility bill (water, gas, and electric).
  • Nearly a decade ago, CSS invested in solar energy from panels: at Venetucci Farm, on-campus, and at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church. Seventy-five percent of our energy uses on campus are covered by solar power. With this 115 kW project, CSS became the first independent school in the country to draw this much power from a community-based solar garden. This investment, in which CSS leases the panels from SunShare in exchange for credits on our bill from Colorado Springs Utilities, saves the school money, models environmental responsibility, and teaches students to solve problems with ingenuity and responsibility toward others.