An integral part of our mission to weave sustainability into our school culture began with the design of our campus buildings. Our values reflect a strong commitment to sustainability using specifications based on the LEED 2009 certification standards for the construction of new schools. These guidelines include well-defined measures in all aspects of the design and building process that minimize environmental impact, ensure energy efficiency, water efficiency, and a high standard of indoor air quality to create an environment where our students and staff can learn and thrive.
The school employs two specialized systems to reduce our energy consumption: geothermal ground source heating and photovoltaic solar panels. Through generous grants from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation's Solar 4R Schools Program, the Oregon Department of Energy, and friends of the school, we were able to install a 24.64 kW system on the school's roof in 2016.
We are proud to share that with the commitment of the Middle School Green Team, we received our Oregon Green Schools certification in the spring of 2016. The Green Team has also worked to greatly reduce waste during lunch, including instituting the use of composting bins.
In 2015, 2017, and 2018 Cascades Academy was named one of Oregon Business magazine's 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon. Based on its widely recognized 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project, the 100 Best Green Workplaces are determined by an anonymous employee survey and an independent assessment of the employers' sustainability practices. Survey questions cover topics ranging from waste reduction to sustainability to mass transit. This ranking shows that Cascades Academy has implemented a variety of green policies and that their employees place a high value on sustainable practices and believe the school's commitment to them is exceptional. It's a remarkable feat considering more than 13,500 employees across the state completed the survey.