Green Local Schools: Iowa

A green school creates a healthy place that is conducive to learning. And this is done while saving energy, resources and money. Green local schools give many benefits for students, teachers, parents and the district. In this post, we will feature a green local school in Iowa distinguished by U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award.


Green Local Schools in Iowa

Iowa is a very extensive state in terms of land area and it is the 30th most populous state in the US. From the latter half of the 20th century to the present, the state’s economy transitioned from agriculture to advanced industries. The state is also known as a pioneer of green energy production.

This thriving state is often credited with the start of the high school movement in the country. In the early part of the 20th century, schools were established across the state, which was unheard of at the time. Iowa has the top graduation rate in the US and has over 365 school districts.


Let’s look at a notable green local school in this state:


Iowa Lakes Community College

This is one of the green local schools that have a strong mission to provide quality lifelong learning for students, staff, faculty and other members of the district. It serves a five-county area and its programs are enhanced through the careful use of resources and STEM efforts.


Why is this school green?

Iowa Lakes includes learning that highlights sustained green living into its college programs. The learning centers are designed to achieve wise use of energy and reduced impact on its surroundings.

The school was one of the first green local schools that were practicing green programs prior to 2006. It adopted a Healthy School Program and a College Climate Action Plan to ensure minimum impact and no net greenhouse gas emissions. All new construction meets or exceeds LEED silver standards for good energy use.

Each time an item or piece of equipment is replaced, the school replaces it with eco-friendly products. Paperless interaction is encouraged and any printed copies are set to auto-print, dual-sided. Recycle bins are located at all five campuses for plastic, paper, and cans. In addition, Iowa Lakes uses reusable cloth bags for grocery shopping and cloth backpacks for carrying books and other items at events.

The school is also one of the green local schools that hold end-of-year rummage sales for less waste. This also gives a chance for students to purchase gently used items for their needs. All restrooms are paperless, and water fountains come with a dispenser to refill bottles. This way, the school reduces its plastic bottled water usage.

The food service grease and oil from equipment are recycled for bio-diesel. To promote healthy nutrition, Iowa Lakes has an established 66,000 square-foot garden to grow veggies, herbs and fruits. Thus, the school can provide fresh produce for many people throughout the Palo Alto County. Students are also given hands-on experience for growing healthy food that can be sustained. The garden also serves as a model for local garden projects.

Iowa Lakes is truly a unique green school for its Vestas Wind turbine. It’s mainly used for training purposes, but it is able to sell all of the power from the turbine to the City of Estherville. About $130,000 worth of electric power is produced each year, and this covers more than 70 percent of what is used in the school buildings on the Estherville campus.

Iowa Lakes makes a great effort on making a positive impact on the planet. In March 2015, the school sent nearly 100 cloth backpacks to Kitale, Kenya. In addition, students join in the cleaning up of the five-county area. In Clay County, Iowa Lakes soccer players have volunteered at the Spencer Transfer Station to help make the public aware of the concept of recycling.

 Address: 19 South 7th Street, Estherville, IA 51334

Phone: (712) 362-0435