KS sustainability interns Parker Kushima and Carter Lai use meters to test air quality at KS' Community Learning Center at Māʻili.
Kamehameha Schools is leading the way to a greener and more health-conscious future for schools across the nation. KS Kapālama was chosen to participate in the Arc + Schools program run by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the creators of the LEED green building program.
KS along with eight school districts in the nation are participating in this yearlong program designed to support sustainability efforts in school districts through the use of Arc. Arc is a state-of-the-art online platform designed to help buildings, cities and communities collect, manage and benchmark sustainability performance.
By tracking progress through Arc, KS and others are helping USGBC understand the best ways to support school district sustainability efforts across three pillars: building performance, health and wellness and sustainability literacy.
“We are excited to collaborate with USGBC and seven other schools districts to explore how the Arc platform can support district-wide sustainability efforts,” said KS Sustainability Manager Amy Brinker. “In addition to Kawaiahaʻo Plaza, we are partnering with our Kapālama campus and KS' Community Learning Center at Māʻili to showcase how unique Pauahi’s legacy is among the other school districts.”
Sustainability fellow and KS alumna Melia Simpkins was the lead intern on the project and thinks the program is good for both Kamehameha Schools and Arc+ as a program.
“Working to integrate Arc into Kamehameha Schools has taught me about building operation systems, resource management, and audit processes,” said Simpkins. “This platform will be helpful to other schools locally and globally to decrease their impacts on the environment.”
Arc’s measuring capabilities are helping KS to meet the goals set forward in its Strategic Plan 2020. Arc articulates the impacts of KS’ efforts using a performance score that is calculated out of 100. The score is based on data KS submits related to five categories: energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience.
Using the data and score, KS can better understand its water use, energy use, waste diversion, and carbon impact. Arc also measures the satisfaction of occupants in KS buildings, ensuring quality learning environments and improving Native Hawaiian well-being.
“Arc allows any building to benchmark and track sustainability performance with the goal of continuous improvement,” said Gautami Palanki, director, Arc Skoru Inc. “Arc is a powerful platform that can look at individual building performance, as well as district-wide progress. It also provides a valuable opportunity to engage students in the process, helping them understand how different actions impact their school. It has been a great experience working with KS and we look forward to continuing our relationship.”
So far, data has been collected for Kawaiahaʻo Plaza and Māʻili Learning Center. Next steps include data collection at the Kapālama campus. KS will be sharing and learning with other schools at the annual USGBC Green Schools Conference in May of this year.
The program is intended to provide feedback to USGBC on current metrics and additional tools to better benefit school districts worldwide. For more information on Arc+ Schools visit the USGBC website. For specific questions about Kamehameha Schools’ participation in the pilot, contact Sustainability Manager Amy Brinker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 808-534-8048.