Green Schools

The concept of environmental sustainability is nothing new for Frederick County Public Schools. FCPS has worked for years to operate efficiently and in a manner that is environmentally friendly. Whether constructing a new school, replacing equipment, or disposing of waste, Frederick County Public Schools strives to be environmentally conscious. Below are some examples of efforts being made across the school division to conserve energy, reduce waste, and realize cost savings through a focus on environmental sustainability.  

Building Design

As the need arises to construct new facilities or make improvements to existing buildings, Frederick County Public Schools is committed to considering environmentally responsible building design. The following are some examples of systems and designs currently in place at FCPS facilities:
  • Storm water management plans that maximize usable green space on-site and retain existing wetland areas where possible. Ground is used to naturally filter pollutants from runoff
  • High performance glazed windows reduce solar heat gain
  • Thermally broken window systems reduce thermal transfers into the building envelope
  • Natural day light in some spaces reduces energy requirements
  • No use of CFC refrigerants
  • Heat exchangers precondition a building's fresh air supply by removing heat/cooling for the building's exhaust air
  • Automated HVAC control system
  • Dual light levels in classrooms allow teachers to conserve energy when full lighting isn't needed
  • Occupancy and motion sensors turn off lights when spaces aren't occupied
  • No night lighting to conserve energy and enhance security by creating a "black" building site
  • Automatic sensing valves on water closets, urinals and lavatories to conserve water
  • Use of Polyiso roof insulation which is more environmentally friendly and less expensive
  • Most walls consist of concrete masonry units which are sustainable products
  • Using building materials which include recycled content-vinyl floor tile, ceiling tile, carpet, wall base
  • Vestibules at entrances to buildings serve as air locks and help reduce energy consumption
  • No use of exotic building materials which often require long distance shipping


FCPS is working to reduce the amount of electricity, water and other resources needed to operate the school division. Those efforts include:
  • Replacing CRT monitors with energy efficient flat panel screens
  • Using fully insulated doors/weather stripping
  • Using individual classroom HVAC units allows for greater control of space temperatures, which offers energy savings
  • Utilizing water saving closets
  • Using photocell/time of day schedule for exterior lighting
  • Using electronic ballast and T-8 light tubes in order to use less energy
  • Utilizing sensors to turn off lights when rooms aren't occupied
  • Equipping dishwashers with energy saving switches which shut off the unit after 5 minutes of no washing activity
  • Utilizing dishwasher exhaust fans which are controlled by dishwasher operation, not a wall switch
  • Using combination (COMBI) ovens which cook faster with less energy
  • Using Direct Digital Control (DDC) to operate the HVAC system
  • Controlling certain parking lot lights according to a time of day schedule
  • Control bus engine block heater operation based on outside temperature and a time of day schedule
  • Utilizing auto-scrubber floor technology
  • Using EcoSoft certified toilet tissue made from 100% recycled product
  • Consolidating warehouse delivery routes-1 per week for custodial supplies and 1 per week for food
  • Reminding staff to keep doors closed, turn lights off when not in use, request timely repairs to leaking water fixtures, and eliminate unnecessary HVAC usage

Cost Savings

Frederick County Public Schools' commitment to environmental sustainability has resulted in some cost savings being realized.  The following are some examples of green initiatives which have resulted in cost savings for the school division:

  • Where possible, buildings are equipped with dual fuel boilers which offer the option of purchasing the most economical fuel--oil or natural gas
  • New furniture is shipped in blankets instead of boxes and Styrofoam when possible. This method of shipping reduces waste and saves approximately one dollar per desk/chair
  • Trash compactors reduce waste quantity by a 3:1 ratio thus requiring fewer trash pickups
  • Sensors turn off lights in rooms which are not occupied
  • Direct Digital Controlled water heaters turned off on nights and weekends
  • Direct Digital Controlled HVAC units operate based on a time of day schedule
  • Certain parking lot lights are controlled by a time of day schedule
  • Bus engine block heaters are controlled by a time of day schedule and outside temperature
  • Using microfiber cleaning systems reduces the amount of chemicals that need to be used for cleaning
  • Using Green certified cleaning products
  • Walk-off mats installed at building entrances help reduce the amount of dirt brought into a building from outdoors. The mats also help improve indoor air quality
  • Deliveries from the FCPS warehouse are consolidated to save fuel and promote efficiency. There is one delivery each week for custodial supplies and one delivery each week for food
  • Bus Drivers are following an anti-idling policy
  • High-efficiency air filters are used and replaced on a quarterly schedule


Every Frederick County Public School facility has a recycling program in place. The following items are routinely recycled by FCPS:
  • Batteries
  • Antifreeze
  • Motor oil
  • Transmission fluid
  • Scrap metal
  • Cardboard
  • Ink/toner
  • Paper
  • Aluminum cans
  • Plastic bottles
  • Fluorescent light tubes
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Kitchen cans
  • Computers