Laura Capps
County Supervisor | Santa Barbara, CA

Schools as Centers of Sustainability

Idea Category: Infrastructure


As public institutions, our school facilities are generally not on the forefront of design innovation. With twenty-one schools, the district I represent is one of the biggest property owners in the region, yet completely reliant on fossil fuels. For example, not one of them is powered by solar energy and there is just one car charging station for the several thousand employees in the district. Given this context, made sustainability a priority in the district, by first spearheading a climate change resolution that passed and also pushing for a staff position solely devoted to making great strides in this area. Climate change disproportionately impacts future generations and our schools should lead the way in our climate crisis.


Creating a sustainability position is not just good for the environment but it is smart economics. Districts across the country are now seeing savings of several hundred thousand dollars by shifting to renewable energy sources, conducting audits on energy and water use and employing innovative strategies. Making sustainability a priority in the form of this position, will foster a more comprehensive educational environment for students growing up in a climate crisis, directly showing them the tangible actions that can be taken.