The School Energy and Recycling Team Program (SERT) is one of the many ways that MCPS tries to go about saving the environment.
So what is it? Basically, SERT is a school-based energy conservation and recycling program that is comprised of teams of staff and students who take responsibility to create a culture of conservation.
At the central level, MCPS tries to provide support and data for all of our teams so that they can do a better job. At each and every MCPS School, MCPS Central Staff provides SERT Teams with:
• accessible energy and recycling performance data, and
• SERT facilitators providing support and guidance, and
• recognition and award incentives for effort and performance.
The SERT facilitators themselves make rounds to all the schools to collect data and make sure that the schools are in compliance with environmental regulations. As a result, the main goal of the SERT Program is to reduce our carbon footprint and simultaneously eliminate energy costs.
One of the other goals of the SERT Program is to educate students about the importance of conservation and recycling. As a result, Energy Assemblies, Contests, Activities, and even Energy Audits are conducted by students to truly engage them within the process and make the SERT Program an educational program, creating a culture of conservation imperative in the next generation. The SERT Recycling Rewards Program for example allows schools to win the award for achieving a recycling rate of 36% or higher.
So how effective is it? Every year, the SERT Program results in millions of dollars of energy savings and reduces energy use in schools across the county - sometimes by up to 10% in one year.
This triangle below represents the cooperation and participation needed at all levels of the school for the SERT Team to be successful. Students, Administrators, and Building Service Staff all need to be on the same page to bring about real environmental change at the school level.
In our next part, we're going to take a look at Recycling Data for MCPS and some of the many programs going in to facilitate the process.