Environmental Science Students Propose Ideas to Increase Conservation and Sustainability at PA

On Monday, AP Environmental Science students presented their final poster projects in the Dole Room of the OWH Library. Their projects addressed the question: “Does what we do here have an impact on the big picture?” Their work ranged from studying the effect of cleaning products to stating the benefits of hybrid cars. Nate Flagg ’07 presented a strong argument about the cleaners used on campus. His research has shown that the use of cleaners such as Dazzle Window Cleaner, Chlori Cling ‘N’ Clean, and Green Clean Wipes can lead to cancer, lung diseases and health issues in animals. Such products can also do great damage to the environment. These cleaners contain ammonia, chlorine, alkphenol ethoxylate, and many other dangerous chemicals. Flagg proposed a Gelb Pilot Program, which would gradually replace current cleaning products with environmentally friendly cleaning products, replacing cotton products with efficient microfiber ones, using unbleached toilet paper and recycled material paper towels, and setting up scraper mats outside the entryways to minimize dirt coming in to the building. Another popular presentation was Alexander Heffner ’08’s in-depth research of “environmental incentives” regarding hybrid vehicles. Heffner discovered that PA uses 31 vehicles, including PAPS vehicles, community service vans and power plant transportation. He pointed out that none of these vehicles, save for one electric cart used only in the summertime, are hybrids. Heffner examined the Sate Income Tax Credit, Sate Sales Tax Exemption, and Local Property Tax Exemption laws that could benefit PA if the school were to invest in hybrid cars. Emma Wood ’07 presented surprising facts on water quality at PA. According to Wood, the water quality on campus is, “contrary to popular belief, quite good.” There had been concerns about the problems with water purity at Andover’s elementary schools, but Wood has discovered that the town is working on eliminating doubt about cleanliness by pro-actively reworking the water system. The main suggestion Wood has for Andover is to replace the old lead faucets we use with different pipes, as the lead that occasionally gets into the water students drink could cause long-term health problems. Confidence and clarity shone through Matthew Emery ’08’s project, “A Sustainable Library,” which aimed to make the library the most sustainable building on campus. Emery proposed that PA replace the library’s light bulbs with more efficient, fluorescent bulbs; replace paper towels with Xlerator hand dryers in the library restrooms; program an automatic computer shut-down system in the computer labs; and use 30% post-consumer product paper in library printers. Through his research, Emery found that PA students use a startling 30,000 pages of printer paper each month in the library alone. Emery discovered that to subside the issue of paper waste PA’s technology department may soon implement a “paper bandwidth” program. Such a program would set a limit to how many pages each student could print each term, and once a student went over, he or she would be automatically billed for each additional page.