Arcadia Unified Bans Car Washes to Support Drought Efforts

In light of the severe drought conditions in California, the Arcadia Unified School District will no longer allow its schools and clubs to hold community car wash fundraisers. The ban will start on Earth Day, April 22, 2014, and be upheld as conditions warrant. While many of these car washes serve as significant fundraisers to support different schools and their clubs, the district’s mission of being environmentally conscious will take priority during California’s drought.

“We want to continue to be leaders in this community and globally,” said Dr. Joel Shawn, Superintendent of Arcadia Unified School District. “Water conservation needs to be a priority for us, and everyone else in our great state. We are happy to do our part.”

Arcadia Unified has taken several other measures to conserve water in recent years and to limit its impact on the environment. Several schools and district buildings have been equipped with low-drip irrigation systems, drought-tolerant plants and landscape, and low-volume sinks and restrooms.

Most AUSD schools feature advanced Energy Management Systems (EMS) for their heating and cooling units. Some of the other energy-efficient features in buildings include setback timers on thermostats, low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints, recycled building materials, daylight and occupancy-sensored lighting, and low-energy light sources.

AUSD has also made it a priority to significantly reduce the amount of paper it uses. The district has evolved to online documents and agendas, and often holds and encourages completely paperless meetings and workshops.

Arcadia Unified students and teachers are great leaders in the district’s conservation efforts. Schools throughout AUSD have “PowerSave” energy conservation teams. These energy teams, comprised of students and teachers, conduct energy audits at schools, have greatly reduced energy consumption, learn and teach conservation techniques, and promote sustainability throughout their campuses and the community. In addition to the PowerSave team, Arcadia High School also has the Campus Environmentalists Club, the Advanced Placement Environmental Science (APES) class, and other student groups like the Associated Student Body (ASB) and Link Crew, which organize recycling and other green initiatives on campus.  

A new compressed natural gas (CNG) station was opened earlier this year by the district after AUSD received nearly $500,000 in grants. The CNG station will eliminate an estimated 400 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and save AUSD up to $40,000 in fuel and maintenance costs per year.

“It’s been great to see our students, teachers, and staff be environmental leaders on our campuses and in our community. Their conservation and sustainability ideas and efforts have been remarkable. We have made great strides in our efforts and will continue to examine what AUSD can do to continue these important efforts,” added Dr. Shawn.