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Sustainability

Sustainability

The Lawrenceville School takes a holistic approach to campus sustainability by focusing on land and water conservation, reducing energy use, and improved materials flows to promote ecological literacy and citizenship. The School grounds provide abundant educational opportunities for students and the local community that draw on the legacy of noted alumnus and ecologist Aldo Leopold (Class of 1905) and celebrated landscape architect and campus designer Frederick Law Olmsted. As a result, students add a new dimension to their lifelong learning journey, connect their efforts to the goals and needs of the broader community, and grow in their appreciation for the natural world.

Sustainable Agriculture and Conservation

The Lawrenceville School is surrounded by hundreds of acres of School-owned forests, wetlands, and farmland that offer boundless educational and ecological potential. The School employs ecological principles to forest stewardship, agricultural practices, habitat protection, and conservation. These include sustainable farming practices for soil and water conservation, and new measures to improve and protect campus waterways. This is especially evident at the School’s 30-acre Big Red Farm that uses organic methods to produce a variety of crops and meat for the School dining hall, School Camp, and area food pantries. Furthermore, a partnership with the Stroud Water Research Center of Avondale, Penn., will involve long-term monitoring of the campus watershed as part of practices aimed at reducing runoff into campus waterways. As a tributary of the Delaware River that provides drinking water for millions downstream, measures to improve water quality of the Shipetaukin Creek here on campus will serve those in nearby cities and towns in need of clean drinking water.

Shipetaukin Creek
Lawrenceville's Solar Farm

Solar Array

The Lawrenceville School solar array consists of a 30-acre, 6.1 megawatt solar facility. A total of 24,934 solar panels generate 90 percent of the School's needs. The array offsets nearly 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of taking over 850 cars off the road annually. During the day, the panels produce nearly twice the amount of energy needed by the School. The excess is exported to the local electrical utility, Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) and credited to the School. The School draws energy from PSE&G after sundown.

View a Live Stream of Solar Array Data

LEED
The new Tsai Field House will include green features such as geothermal heating and cooling and waste heat recapture. The campus has recently invested in infrastructure efficiencies in its steam heating system that recapture up to 90% of the steam used to heat buildings, leading to significant savings in energy and water use. Lawrenceville’s Office of Sustainability is also researching carbon reduction plans that employ renewable energy credits and carbon offsets to lower our environmental footprint.

Recycling, Compost, and Waste Programs

Lawrenceville students have recently revived recycling and compost efforts. For recycling, students are working in partnership with our recycling facility, All County Recycling of Trenton, and hauler, Waste Management, to reduce the amount of trash that ends up in recycling bins. Lawrentians are also leading efforts to compost food waste from student plate scrapings in the dining halls to avoid sending those materials to the landfill. A large rotating composter at the Big Red Farm receives vegetable-based plate scrapings and, when combined with leaves for a carbon source, turns the materials into a soil amendment for the Farm. Finally, students are making efforts to reduce landfill contributions with new initiatives for reusable plates in Houses and club offices, and for reusable water bottles in athletics instead of single-use sports drink bottles.

News and Reflections

Christabelle Sutter '23 and Lead Carpenter Ryan Yura doing honey extraction at the Big Red Farm.

Things got a bit sticky in the Kirby Science and Math Center last week as Director of Sustainability Steve Laubach scraped and spun honeycombs from the Big Red Farm to extract honey. The Farm has two active hives containing around 50,000 bees that are capable of producing up to 60 lbs. of honey twice a year. Harvests are collected in July and October.