About the Sustainability Initiative


    The New York City Department of Education is the largest school district in the United States with over 1,800 schools, 1,300 school buildings, 137,500 employees, and 1.1 million students. Despite the overwhelming size of the school system and increasing demands on the budget, the DOE has continued to stress the importance of the implementation of sustainability initiatives. The Sustainability Initiative seeks to transform the DOE into a more sustainable and efficient public entity regarding facility operation and maintenance and student environmental education.

    Our Vision:

    • Nurture the development of sustainable solutions that foster tomorrow's citizens
    • Leverage the school as a learning laboratory and promote it as the center of our efforts
    • Make direct impact on conservation through our own operations and maintenance practices

    Our Goals:

    • Waste: Achieve a 30% diversion rate by 2017
    • Energy Conservation: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from DOE buildings and schools by 30 percent by the year 2017 from a 2008 baseline
    • Water: Provide& programs to reduce water consumption and increase water efficiency
    • Ecology: Participate in citywide green initiatives, programs, and contests that facilitate student environmental activity and education
    • Green Curriculum: Provide school principals and teachers with the necessary resources to integrate environmental education into the curriculum

    About the Sustainability Team

    DOE's Sustainability Initiative is an agency-wide effort lead by Division of School Facilities and supported by the DOE Sustainability Initiative Advisory Council to provide tools and resources to optimize buildings operations and energy efficiency, to increase recycling and help teachers apply standards to real life to lead current and future generations to a more sustainable future. The goals and responsibilities of the program are regulated through Chancellor's Regulation A-850

    The Office of Sustainability

    The Office of Sustainability is guided by the Division of School Facilities within the Department of Education's Division of Operations. It manages the DOE Sustainability Initiative and works year-round coordinating with many city agencies and non-government organizations, provides necessary resources to optimize school operations, so that school staff, students, and the overall community can become aware of different sustainable methods. Each year, as mandated by the DOE, school principals must select one school sustainability coordinator from the teaching or administrated staff. Sustainability coordinators, with the assistance of many partners of the Sustainability Initiative, play a vital role in helping the Office of Sustainability implement its policies in the four highlighted areas of sustainability. The office provides sustainability training programs for sustainability coordinators and custodian engineers/building managers, so that they can receive proper information on implementation and facilitation of the sustainability initiatives.

    Advisory Council

    Chaired by Division of School Facilities, DOE's Sustainability Initiative Advisory Council has representatives from many DOE divisions (School Food, Compliance Office, Teaching and Learning, Communications and Media Relations, Career and Technology Education, School Construction Authority), the Mayor's office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, Department of Sanitation, DCAS Division of Energy Management. Department of Parks and Recreation, US Environmental Protection Agency Region 2, Union representatives, non-profit partners, principals, custodial engineers, sustainability coordinators, students, and parents.

    Sustainability Coordinators

    The School Sustainability Coordinator to consult with representatives from all sectors of the school, including principal, food services and custodial staff, and wherever possible, parents and students, in developing and implementing all the sustainability initiatives in the school. The School Sustainability Coordinator Responsibilities are:
    • To develop and implement a site-specific Sustainability Plan which shall at a minimum include School Recycling and Waste Reduction Plan while following the DSNY recycling rules.
    • To ensure that students are following and practicing Recycling Rules.
    • To be the conduit for sustainable curriculum development initiatives.
    • To utilize the Energy Star Portfolio Manager in assisting with energy conservation programs at the school.