In the SCHOOL SURVEY, you will discover the impact that students, teachers, and staff at your school have on the environment. You will be investigating:
- habits and behaviors (e.g., recycling used paper)
- school conditions (e.g., types of sprinklers)
After submitting your answers online, you will receive recommendations that explain what people at your school can do to help:
- conserve energy
- save water
- reduce waste and pollution
Download, print, and complete the survey; then return to enter your answers
Enter your answers now.
NOTE: This survey could also be useful for other public buildings - perhaps a business complex or a community recreation facility. Though not all questions may apply, many are appropriate for a variety of places.
Directions to Enter Your Answers
1. First, enter the information below:
2. Click below to enter your answers to each question. (You can skip questions if necessary.)
3. When you're finished, click "Submit Survey" to receive recommendations that explain what more your school can do to "Think Earth."
How old is your school's heating and cooling system?
Is your school's heating and cooling system maintained on a regular basis?
At what temperature are the heater thermostats set when school is in session?
At what temperature are air conditioner (cooling) thermostats usually set when school is in session?
Is the heating/cooling system turned down or off at night and on weekends when the school is empty?
Is the heating/cooling system turned off or are vents closed in rooms that are not being used for a day or more?
Are windows and outside doors kept closed when the heating or air conditioning is on?
Does air leak in and out of closed windows or doors? (Not sure? See the Draftometer Test help box.)
To check windows and doors for leaks, conduct the following test:
- Cut a piece of thin plastic food-wrap about 4 inches wide and 6 inches long.
- Tape the short edge of the plastic along the edge of a pencil.
- Hold the draftometer near the edges of closed doors and windows. If the plastic moves, then air is leaking in or out.
- Also test electrical boxes and outlets (plugs), pipes, air ducts, and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside.
Are any heating or air conditioning vents blocked by furniture or other obstructions, such as bookshelves, equipment, drapes?
During hot weather, are the sunny sides of school buildings shaded in the afternoons by trees, awnings, or other sun barriers?
Are the lights off in rooms that are not being used?
How old is your school's lighting system?
Do most classrooms use natural light (not electric lights) when possible?
What types of bulbs are used in outdoor lights? (Not sure? See the Outdoor Lights help box.)
- Incandescent bulbs are the typical round bulbs, which get very hot.
- Fluorescent bulbs are either straight tubes or tubes bent into compact bulbs, which stay cool.
- High-pressure sodium bulbs emit a yellowish light.
Are computers and monitors turned off at the end of the school day?
Do many classrooms and offices have phantom loads? (See the Phantom Loads help box.)
Phantom loads are created by appliances or equipment that constantly draw power when plugged in, even if turned OFF. Look for appliances/equipment that have remote controls and that feature a continuous digital display, such as glowing clocks or “on” lights. These "energy vampires" in schools can include:
- DVD players
- cable boxes
- computer equipment
- audio equipment
- hot plates
- coffee makers
Are indoor drinking fountains, faucets, pipes, and showerheads free of leaks? (Check classrooms, hallways, restrooms, gyms, cafeteria.)
Are all faucets, drinking fountains, and showers turned off when not being used?
What type of toilets are installed in your school? (See the Toilet Type help box.)
Under the tank lid or just behind the seat, the number of gallons per flush or the toilet type might be indicated. Or ask the school maintenance supervisor.
- An older regular toilet uses 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush.
- A low flush toilet uses 1.6 gallons per flush.
- A high-efficiency toilet uses 1.3 gallons or less per flush.
Are outdoor hoses, pipes, sprinklers, faucets, and drinking fountains free of leaks?
How often are walkways or paved areas cleaned with water from the hose?
Is a cover placed over the swimming pool at night and at other times when the pool is not being used?
If automatic sprinklers are used, what type are they? (Not sure? See the Sprinklers help box.)
- Conventional pop-up automatic sprinklers spray a fan of water across the grass.
- Rotating sprinklers project streams of water while the sprinkler head rotates to cover the area.
Are all of the outdoor sprinkler heads working properly—spraying evenly in the right direction with no water gushing or trickling out?
Are there areas where the sprinklers—automatic or manual—spray a lot of water onto the pavement?
When the sprinklers are on, how much water runs onto paved areas?
Are the grounds watered less during cooler months and not at all when it is raining?
Do most of the trees and other outdoor plants have mulch around them to slow water evaporation? (See the What's Mulch? help box.)
Reducing Waste & Pollution
Does your cafeteria use disposable ("throw-away") plates, utensils, cups, glasses, and trays?
When taking paper napkins or paper towels, do students often take more than they really need?
Do most students, teachers, and staff usually write and print on both sides of paper?
Are metal cans, plastic and glass bottles, cardboard, writing paper, and other paper items recycled? (See Ways to Recycle help box.)
Ways to Recycle
There are several ways that your school might recycle:
- You might have separate containers for recyclable and non-recyclable waste that are picked up by your trash collector.
- You might put all waste in the same containers because your trash company sorts out recyclables.
- You might save recyclables and take them to a recycle center.
Are grass clippings and other "green waste" at your school composted? (See the Ways to Compost help box.)
Ways to Compost
There are several ways that your school might compost:
- "Green waste" is put into a compost pile or bin at your school or at a district site.
- "Green waste" goes into separate containers that are picked up by your trash collector.
Are cleaners, polishes, paints, and other products used at school safe for the environment? (Not sure? See the Environmentally-Friendly help box.)
How are hazardous wastes disposed of? (See the What's Hazardous? help box.)
Hazardous waste includes products that can harm people or the environment. Look for labels that have warnings or cautions, or for words such as “hazardous,” “toxic,” “poisonous,” and “dangerous.” Hazardous waste includes:
- used motor oil
- cleaners and solvents
- ink cartridges
- electronic equipment
How much litter is on the floors or the ground throughout your school?
Do most students travel in carpools if they come to school by car? (Not sure? See the Carpools help box.)
Do school bus drivers turn off their engines when waiting for more than 30 seconds?
Are all of the school buses less than 10 years old?
What type of equipment is used for grounds maintenance?
Submit your answers for recommendations that explain ways
your school can "Think Earth."