Through a partnership of the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District (AVAQMD) and American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA), the Westside Union School District has become the first Certified Green Zone School District in the United States.
The District partnered with the AGZA Green Zone Certification Program and transitioned the grounds maintenance equipment on all 12 of its campuses from fossil fuel-powered lawn and garden equipment to battery electric equipment. The effort earned WUSD last year’s William J. “Pete” Knight Memorial Achievement in Reducing Emissions (AIRE) Award by the AVAQMD.
The Green Zone Certification Program is intended to achieve considerable reductions in air pollution, noise pollution, and toxic waste associated with the use and maintenance of internal combustion equipment. As a part of the effort, Westside spent several months testing various types and models of battery-electric equipment to compare efficiency, reliability, quality and resilience.
By replacing gas-powered equipment with electric versions, Westside is eliminating approximately 52 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, more than 17 tons of criteria pollutant emissions along with smaller amounts of fine particulate pollution and a variety of toxic air emissions annually from WUSD and the Antelope Valley environment. An added benefit to the equipment exchange is a significant reduction in
noise during the operation of the quieter electric machines.
“This project makes the air safer for the District’s students, faculty, staff and the community at large,” said Marvin Crist, Chairman of the AVAQMD Governing Board. “It’s not surprising to see them leading this effort in the state, and I’m glad we were able help them achieve this important goal.”
Westside has an established track record of adopting sustainable green policies wherever feasible. The District was an early adopter of solar power and continues in that regard with plans for solar power generation at all district facilities later this year. Westside has also installed ionizers in every single district HVAC unit to improve air quality at its school sites. The new system is 82% more effective at virus
reduction than CDC-recommended filtration standards.
“Environmental health and public health go hand in hand. We continue to work hard to improve air quality and are honored to be the first school district to earn this prestigious Green Zone designation,” stated Westside Superintendent Regina Rossall. “Westside has a long history of working to adopt environmentally sustainable practices that also make economic sense.”
AVAQMD allocated roughly $17,000 from their AB 617 and Carl Moyer grant programs covering 70 percent of the equipment replacement cost .The Carl Moyer Program provides grant funding for cleaner than-required engines, equipment, and other sources of air pollution. AB 617 provides for grants to community-based organizations for technical assistance and support in ensuring that all Californians benefit equitably from our state’s air quality and climate efforts, especially those who live in areas most severely impacted by air pollution.
AVAQMD has various grant programs to assist Antelope Valley homeowners and commercial landscapers with the conversion from fossil-fueled-powered lawn and garden equipment to clean battery electric alternatives. Visit the AVAQMD web site at www.avaqmd.ca.gov or call 661-723-8070 for more information.
[Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District.]