We strive to instill in our students the values and ethics of environmental stewardship while providing opportunities to practice sustainability inside the classroom and out into the community. We commit to conserve resources on campus and empower our community to aspire to environmental, financial, and social sustainability.
Energy and Facilities
Energy use on campus has decreased 60% since 2000. Heating and cooling energy consumption has dropped dramatically thanks to an overhaul including a computerized management system. A one megawatt solar array on campus provides up to 25% of campus electricity, and all exterior and gymnasium, dining hall and Natatorium lights have been replaced with low-energy LEDs. We seek to expand our renewable energy portfolio and concentrate on energy conservation. We are members of the United States Green Building Council and follow the LEED example as often as we can in our renovation, building maintenance, painting, and custodial procedures.
All students, faculty, and staff eat in the campus dining halls, which provide tray-less, self-serve lunches. Our kitchen staff maintains a consistently immaculate facility and conserves resources with reusable dishes and water-efficient refrigeration. We serve organic milk as well as local fruit and vegetables when available.
Students work on raised bed gardens and in the greenhouse to provide produce for the dining halls and learn year-round vegetable cultivation — from preparing soil to harvesting the fruits of their labor. Students also cultivate native and locally adapted species in xeric gardens and a biodiversity garden. The Sustainable Japanese Garden models desert-adapted design while providing a space for peaceful contemplation. The Desert Oasis Teaching Garden will bring together all the elements of conservation including water, waste, energy, and food. It will include an orchard, extensive rainwater harvesting and irrigation systems, drought-adapted perennials and annual food crops, pollinator attracting species, and much more.
100% of campus food and landscape waste has been composted on site since 2010. On-campus recycling includes paper, cardboard, aluminum, plastics, scrap metal, glass, wood pallets, and batteries. Each year, Academy students organize an e-waste event for the Albuquerque community, redirecting 6,000 pounds of electronic waste from the landfill. We continue to expand the recycling program and share our composting model, which has already inspired other institutions around the state such as Rio Rancho School District, the Sustainability Program of the University of New Mexico, and Sandia Prep School.
Living in the desert southwest, we as a community are challenged with increasing water scarcity. As we look to the future, our primary goal at Albuquerque Academy is to reduce our water consumption. We have made great strides in reducing our domestic water use through low-flow fixtures and reclaimed irrigation water. Going forward, we have begun to implement rainwater collection, turf alternatives, and xeric gardens, and we are working towards developing a comprehensive campus water conservation plan.