CA is committed to advancing our environmental stewardship and sustainability programs in the classroom and throughout campus.
Our true CA colors will always be red, white, and black, but Colorado Academy has also definitely “gone green.”

Sustainability is a watchword for many educational institutions, and CA is no exception. In its basic meaning, sustainability implies that human activity should only use nature’s resources at a rate at which they can be replenished naturally. This means not only cutting down on wasteful practices and reusing materials, but also making it easier for natural recycling processes to work, such as using products made of recyclable materials or utilizing biodegradable supplies. 

Colorado Academy is committed to creating a sustainable future by empowering our students, faculty and staff, and families. Through campus programs and projects, as well as education, we address the concepts of sustainable development and encourage the practice of new competencies, so students become informed global citizens.

In 2014, CA was named a Gold Partner of the Colorado Environmental Leadership Program, recognizing the school’s commitment to reducing its impact on the environment.

Colorado Academy has adopted a set of sustainability guidelines, which have been endorsed by the Board, that focus on six categories of influence: Administration; Climate Change & Energy; Food & Recycling; Green Building; Transportation; and Program. 
 

Sustainability at CA

List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • Cleaning / Housekeeping

    CA prioritizes sustainability in all of its cleaning practices.
    • Cleaning chemicals used at CA are 100% bio-degradable and safe for the environment.
    • CA paper products are comprised of the highest possible recycled content and/or derived from rapidly renewable resources.
    • CA employs hands-free technology in all restrooms, kitchens, and classrooms for its sinks and paper towel and foam soap dispensers—reducing waste and the spread of germs by 65%.
    • Coreless toilet paper eliminates cardboard roll waste.
    • CA housekeeping staff hand sort each 3-bin (recycling, composting, landfill) disposal system nightly. This intentional focus results in a diversion rate of 90%—meaning only 10% of disposed items end up in a landfill.
  • Transportation

    CA encourages bus ridership for families through our extensive bus service program, serving households from 82 Denver-area ZIP Codes.
    • Ten metro-wide bus routes are offered to families, which alleviates hundreds of daily single-family car trips to school.
    • CA bus ridership has increased in 2022-2023, with at least 40 fewer vehicles coming to campus daily, compared to 2021-2022, saving 272 barrels of fuel per year.
    • CA's diesel buses and campus vehicles use 20% bio-fuel—the maximum percentage allowed by engine manufacturers.
    • CA has a full-size 65-passenger hybrid bus in our fleet.
    • CA participates in a program piloted by the Regional Air Quality Council, which provides funding for retrofitting older buses so that they meet today’s stringent emissions standards.
    • Next steps: CA is looking to add electric buses to its fleet and install EV stations on campus.
  • Buildings

    CA has implemented these green best practices to create healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving buildings:
    • Building envelopes are designed for energy-saving heating and cooling. These include:
      • Variable frequency drives in all newer buildings
      • High-quality windows and insulation
      • Siding materials enhanced for Colorado conditions
      • Net zero, thermally tight air infiltration
    • Low VOC paint and flooring are installed in all buildings, improving indoor air quality and learning conditions.
    • CA uses high-efficiency, LED lightbulbs, and has installed occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lights.
    • CA buildings take advantage of daylight harvesting—using skylights and strategically angled windows and ceilings to alleviate the need to turn on lights.
    • Light-colored roofs reduce the heat island effect, keeping spaces cool and saving energy.
    • Restrooms in all buildings employ low-flow toilets and waterless urinals to conserve water.
    • All CA buildings offer water-filling stations, eliminating the use of single-use plastic bottles.
  • Grounds

    To mitigate energy usage on its 94-acre campus, CA has adopted these green policies: 

    IRRIGATION
    • 100% of water for lawns and grounds is drawn from Woody's Pond.
    • Woody's Pond ditch water is non-potable and chemical-free.
    • Unused irrigation water flows into creeks and ditches for downstream neighbors.
    LANDSCAPING
    • CA plants 50-100 trees per year, adding to the diversity of species and offsetting CO2.
    • CA prioritizes replacing blue grass in strategic areas with native grasses and xeriscaping that require little or no water.
    • The school selects low-water-use ornamental flowers for pots and beds.
    • CA purposefully plants honeybee and butterfly-attracting flowers and shrubs all over campus. Several honeybee colonies thrive on campus and serve to encourage awareness of pollinators and their different roles in promoting a healthy environment. Additionally, the campus is home to a number of wild beehives.
  • Recycling / Composting 

    CA's commitment to recycling and composting is foundational to our environmental stewardship efforts. 
    • Bins for recycling and composting are strategically placed throughout campus.
    • Nearly zero waste is produced from our Dining Hall—95% is composted.
    • Dining Hall composting and grounds composting (leaves & grass clippings) have diverted 60,000 pounds of waste from landfills.
    • The introduction of new innovative technology—the Bio-Digester—will reduce food waste and provide organic fertilizer for landscaping to keep our campus green.
    • Sodexo, our food service partner, is committed to sustainability and reducing its environmental impact. Read more and download their report.
    • Individual office bins emphasize recycling and composting with normal-sized receptacles, while landfill bins are noticeably smaller.
    • CA has eliminated many of its printed brochures, newsletters, and handouts, moving to digital communications.
    • Students receive instructions and homework on their iPads, and they complete and submit assignments electronically.
    • The CA Choral and Music Departments have transitioned to digital scores and sheet music reading apps.
    • Each Earth Day, CA organizes a campus-wide electronics recycling program where families can bring old electronics from home to be recycled.
      • Over the past two years, roughly 19,000 pounds of electronics have been recycled.
  • Education

    Sustainability is taught in CA classrooms from Lower School through Upper School. Faculty and staff reinforce Earth-friendly best practices and bring environmental stewardship into the curriculum.

    Here are some examples:
    • The Upper School has created a lab-based course on Climate Change, providing a forum for students to deeply investigate this defining issue of our time.
    • In the Upper School honors course Environmental Chemistry, students devise real-life solutions to environmental challenges. Review students' work here.
    • In Lower School, students are taught about where trash goes, and learn about landfills and their significance in bringing seagulls to Colorado.
    • As part of a student-run project in experiential learning, Middle and Upper School students converted two CA golf carts used by maintenance/grounds staff to solar power.
    • The Middle School Future City team imagines, researches, designs, and builds sustainable cities. The CA teams have won regional competitions two years in a row.
    • In Lower School, students learn about honeybees as part of their study of nature’s systems. CA's beekeeper brings live bees (safely contained) and other teaching aids from the field into the classroom to give students an opportunity to observe these tiny but important contributors to the global ecosystem.
    • Vermicomposting—indoor composting with worms—is an ongoing project in Pre-K through Grade 3 science classes. Students collect fall leaves, shred newspapers, and mix in leftover food waste to make bedding for new vermicompost bins. Through books, students learn the important role annelids perform in an ecosystem—recycling waste and helping the Earth.
    • In the Grade 5 Capstone Project, Voices of Change, students tackle problems that are important to them—often these are climate challenges.
  • Learn More & Do More

    CA recommends these books for families who want to bolster their sustainability efforts:
    • How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates
    • All We Can Save by Katharine Wilkinson
    • Drawdown  by Paul Hawkin
    Families may also wish to sign up with Ridwell, a residential program that makes it easy to recycle, reuse, and donate the items you no longer need. You collect, and Ridwell picks it up and works with local partners to put your donated stuff to good use.

Get Involved

CA parents meet regularly to discuss sustainability issues. To learn more or become involved, please email CASustainabilityP2P@gmail.com.

CA Sustainability Fast Facts

Sustainability News

Sustainability Faculty Leaders

List of 5 items.

  • Sydney Finkbohner

    Upper School Science Teacher
    View Bio
  • Jeff Goldstein '88

    Lower School Science Teacher
    View Bio
  • Dr. Leo Procise

    Upper School Science Teacher
    View Bio
  • Ryan Skates

    Waste Management Lead
  • Jerel Dalrymple

    Head Custodian
© 2021 Colorado Academy