Sustainability at Hopkins


The Hopkins Sustainability Webpage hopes to inform you of the many “green” initiatives here on the Hopkins Campus.
Even before the report of Cilla Kellert in the fall of 2008 of a “Hopkins Environmental Plan,” the school had made efforts towards campus sustainability. However, since the Plan’s publication, Hopkins has taken a more active focus towards this goal. The Head of School, Barbara Riley, appointed a Sustainability Committee in 2009 made up of faculty, staff and students. This committee oversees, coordinates and encourages most all green efforts on campus.

Mission Statement

In keeping with Edward Hopkins’ original dedication of the School to the “breeding up of hopeful youths… for the public service of the country in future times,” the School recognizes that now, 350 years later, the future public service of our students will involve many issues of sustainability. These issues have become important concerns that affect us all on many levels: local, regional, national, and global. Therefore, the Sustainability Committee will strive to promote sustainable actions by students, faculty and the administration that reflect an awareness of the earth's ecosystems, natural resource consumption, social justice, and community health.
The concept of “sustainability” can be used in many ways, but the Sustainability Committee has adopted the following widely accepted definition: “Meeting the needs of the present generation, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
One of the main parts of the Hopkins School Mission is to “foster [in students] the courage to live and think as distinct individuals who embrace their responsibilities in the larger world.” To this end, one of the main goals of the Sustainability Committee is to assure that all Hopkins students – the educators, researchers, politicians, and professionals of the future – will graduate with the skills, knowledge, and motivation that they will need to become environmentally literate and responsible decision-makers in all walks of life.
To reach this goal, the Committee will:
  • Promote minimizing institutional and personal waste by providing information and feedback to the Hopkins community about reducing, reusing, and recycling practices on campus.
  • Foster the integration of sustainability into campus culture by providing the community with information and learning experiences to encourage behavioral changes that promote global, institutional, and personal sustainability.
  • Encourage and provide sustainability-related learning experiences both inside and outside the formal curriculum to help students become the decision-makers who will lead society to a socially, environmentally, and economically balanced future.
We hope you will check out the various links above that will tell you more about the Sustainability Story at Hopkins!

Sustainability Initiatives

List of 9 items.

  • What Makes a Green School?

    The behavior and daily actions of the people inside count a great deal as to whether or not we have a “green” school.
    To address this, Mrs. Riley created a Sustainability Committee in 2009 specifically to look at our daily habits and to promote green behavior. We think we would all agree that we all need to examine our resource consumption and try to make smaller “footprints.” Here are some of the initiatives of the Committee:
    1. The first initiative that you all probably participate on a daily basis is Recycling. We constantly look at our recycling program, monitor it and try to improve it. We need to put the proper things in the recycling bins and we are planning better signage and an assembly presentation to remind you of the proper items. (Please—no banana peels in the blue bins!)
    2. The second is Paper Use. Again, we have been examining it and monitoring its amount—We will start using 100% recycled paper in printers, while promoting reusing paper. At the moment, we will still use 30% recycled paper in copiers.
    3. The third is Water Use—we hope to make the campus bottled water free. Not that you can’t bring your own (though we promote using your own reusable water bottle), but we are working on not having the school provide it or sell it.
    4. The next is the Green Cup Challenge which occurs in January. This is an interscholastic competition for a month to reduce electricity.
    5. Another initiative is educating the community. The new webpage with a link to “Sustainability at Hopkins” will certainly help here.  We also have some great Assembly talks planned for each year.
    6. We have a group that looked at transportation issues for the entire Hopkins community. The entire school--students, faculty and staff filled out a "Hopkins, Transportation and Our Carbon Footprint"  survey.
    7. We have Operation Trayless! In February of 2011 we went trayless in the dining hall. The savings on water, heat and food are enormous! We had class meetings to introduce the idea.
  • Recycling

    At Hopkins we SINGLE STREAM RECYCLE -- that means we can put ALL our RECYCLABLES in the blue bins MIXED UP.

    What we recycle:
    White paper (ledger)
    Mixed Paper 
    Envelopes with windows
    Bottles & Cans (glass, plastic, aluminum--CLEAN, no liquid)
    Magazines & Catalogs
    Shredded paper
    Junk Mail
    Aluminum Foil
    What we don’t recycle:
    Rubber Bands
    Waxed coatd cardboard, pizza boxes
    Food wrappers
    Kleenex tissues
    Paper Towels
    Bottles/cans with liquid still in them!
    Each classroom and office should have its own blue recycling bin in it. If your classroom is missing a blue bin, report it to Cilla Kellert. The recyclables can be mixed together. They are sent to a facility in Willamantic where they are separated.
    The regular trash should go in its own trash bin. This should not be mixed with the recyclables, so if you see this happening, please report it to Bob Hart and copy it to David Baxter and Cilla. Thanks.
    According to David Baxter, the annual cost for disposing our trash is as follows: FY05 $20,669; FY06 $23,309; FY07 $24,417. Hopkins generates about 143 tons of solid waste annually. The trash is sent to the Trash-to-Energy Plant in Bridgeport where it is incinerated to generate electricity.
    We reduced the trash pick-up from 5 days a week to 3.

    Since we started composting we have reduced our monthly volume of trash from 273 tons/month to 236 tons, and we have increased our recycling from 45 tons/month to 116 tons.  We are currently composting 8 tons/month.
  • Paper Use

    We have been examining it and monitoring its amount.
    We are using 30% recycled paper for our copiers and are phasing in 100% for our printers. (There are about 70 printers on campus!)
    We have the default set to double-sided for when you send a document to a copier.
    We have added signs to most all our computers that say, “THINK BEFORE YOU PRINT” with additional information posted nearby (include this from Faye).
    We have green collection bins in all the copy rooms for paper that can be reused.
    Anita Harris, in the Business Office, is monitoring our monthly purchases of copy paper. (include updated info)
  • Bottled Water Use

    We hope to make the campus bottled water free.  Not that you can’t bring your own (though we promote using your own reusable water bottle), but we are working on not having the school provide it or sell it.
    We encourage people to bring their own reusable water bottles from home.

    We are holding monthly bake sales to subsidize the sale of Nalgene to students in the Cafe.  We pay $12 for them and sell them for $3.00!  A real BARGAIN!
    There are many water fountains on campus, including those with filters (lower library, Stone Lounge).  All our fountains are now hooked up to our city water supply.  We are slowly adding HYDRATION STATIONS to the campus, thanks to funding by the Parent Council.
    We no longer offer bottled water for snacks in the Junior School and at Faculty Meetings.  We are working on making all events bottled water free.

  • Food

    Operation Trayless
    Hopkins went Trayless in February 2011! This means we  no longer use trays, but only plates for eating in the Hopkins Dining Hall. Sustainability Committee students met with ALL the classes to go over the Operation Trayless Initiative.
    Τhe rationale for this is:
    • less water use: Each day 110 racks of trays go through dish machine.
    This translates to 1.75 gallons of hot water/per rack; 165 days/per year.
    Eliminating trays would save 31,500 gallons of hot water per year
    • less electricity use
    • less chemicals: There would be less need for cleaning materials
    • less food waste: Many studies have shown there is a 25%-30% food waste reduction
    • Saves thousands of dollars per year on heating, water, waste-water bills

    Mike King, our Dining Hall Manager, has seen additional savings in napkins and beverages. 


    We started composting in the Dining Hall during the 2013-14 school year and so far it has been very successful.  Mr. King is very pleased with how it is going.  We have clearly marked bins for trash, recyclables, and compostables.  We are expanding our composting to the school Cafe.
  • Transportation

    How to save at Hopkins: Green Transportation and our Carbon Footprint

    Green driving habits save gas and money, and in doing so reduce pollution, lower our dependence on foreign oil, and make our roads safer. Use the following guide to maximize your car's fuel economy and shrink your carbon footprint.
    1. Car Maintenance 2. Speed 3. Driving Habits
    -Each individual tip is underlined.
    -Fuel economy statistics are included when available.
    -Checklists are included at the end of each section.
    Also check out fuel economy calculations and the Hopkins auto-shop deal at the end of this document!
    1. Car Maintenance: Tune Ups
    -Make sure your engine is properly tuned, since a tuned engine wastes less gas, and since your mechanic will help you find system breakages each time you get a tune up, which can keep you from recognizing costly problems with the engine. Breakages could reduce your fuel economy by 20% if serious problems were to go unnoticed. Even a dirty air filter can force your engine to work substantially harder.
    Improves fuel economy by:
    • 4% on average with a properly tuned engine
    • Up to 10% after cleaning the air filter
    • Up to 20% after fixing problems with engines systems that throw off fuel ratios and efficiency.
    Two things to do regularly:
    1. Check your tire pressure, at least once a month. Tires filled to their recommended pressures will save you gas.
    2. Change your oil regularly-- dirt, grime, and friction force you engine to struggle to work properly. Using synthetic oil and additives instead of regular oil may further improve you r fuel economy, since synthetics have a lower viscosity.
    Improves fuel economy by:
    • 3% on average with inflated tires
    • 1-2% on average with regular oil changes.
    • 5% average with synthetic oil or additives
    Tip: Keep the gas tank at least 1/3 full to keep gas flow to your engine constant. When gas is splashing around, your engine has to work in sporadic bursts, which is less efficient.
    ~ ~ ~
    The engine’s primary job is resisting air friction when your car moves forwards. The more aerodynamic your car, the less work your engine must do. Remove unnecessary decorations and unused carriers and hood racks from your car. Consider taking down that Yankees flag a day after the World Series instead of a month later. Find other, cheaper ways to show your obsessive fandom. Finally, repair body damage to the car; dents make the car less aerodynamic.
    Improves fuel economy by:
    • 1-5% without roof racks, carriers, and decorations
    Tip: Reducing your car’s weight by 100 lbs by removing unused items in the trunk, or the back seats if you are up for it, improves fuel economy an additional 1-2%
    Car Maintenance Checklist:
    o Tune engine
    o Get car "health checkups regularly"
    o Find out your tires’ recommended tire pressure
    o Check pressure once a month and fill to recommended pressure when necessary
    o Change oil at correct intervals
    • Try synthetic oil and oil additives
    • Repair body damage
    • Remove excess carriers and décor from your car
    2. Speed
    After stops signs or lights, conservative drivers who slowly accelerate often will reach the next light just as quickly as those who are first off the line. Those who “jackrabbit start” waste gas and save little time. Jamming the accelerator from a standstill dramatically increases the engine's workload. A similar issue is slamming the brakes inches from the light, which is wasteful and dangerous. Glide to a stop by decelerating early to save gas (and reduce wear and tear on your car).
    ~ ~ ~
    Most engines operate most efficiently at 80% of full throttle. Among other factors, this is due part to the fact that aerodynamic drag is a function of the square of speed. To help determine the most efficient speed for a car with a fuel economy gauge, record the car’s fuel economy after driving at different speeds along a flat, demarcated strip of highway. If your car does not have a fuel economy gauge, you could try driving at different speeds and keeping a fuel economy log to determine optimum speed. Most cars are most efficient at speeds around 60 mph.
    Improves fuel economy by:
    • Up to 30% to drive less aggressively on the highway
    • 7-23% to drive under 60 mph, depending on the vehicle
    On the highway, many drivers press and release the gas pedal intermittently, forcing the engine to work in sporadic bursts. Use cruise control or a steady foot to maintaining a constant speed and optimize your fuel consumption. If you decide to use this strategy, avoid tailgating, since it forces you to slow down and speed up in conjunction with the driver in front of you, which nullifies your efforts to keep your speed constant.
    Improves fuel economy by:
    • 7-14% to use cruise control on the highway
    Tip: Use gravity to your advantage by accelerating on slight downhill sections of the highway.
    Speed Checklist:
    o Avoid "jackrabbit starts"
    o Glide to a stop
    o Drive at slower speeds (60 mph)
    o Use cruise control or maintain even pressure on the gas pedal on the highway
    o Avoid tailgating
    3. Driving Habits
    Idling to warm up the car for 5-10 minutes is wasteful. Instead, idle for thirty seconds and then begin driving slowly until your car reaches its correct operating temperature. Switch the car off if you expect to idle on the road for more than 10 seconds.
    Warning: Don't go overboard with this; it will become a burden for the engine to constantly stop and start.
    ~ ~ ~
    New cost-reducing trip planning strategies are becoming increasingly popular. Carpooling saves a lot of fuel. Public transportation as well as services like Zipcar save money, though they are not always practical options for a long trip. In times of fiscal need, biking and walking guarantee you maximum fuel cost savings.
    Improves fuel economy by:
    • An infinite amount!... to bike or walk
    Tip: Another good idea is reducing left turns on your trips, since a tremendous about of time and gas is wasted at red lights. Companies like UPS save loads in fuel costs simply by planning routes with fewer left turns.
    Driving Habits Checklist:
    o Idle for 30 seconds and then begin slowly driving
    o Turn off the car if you expect to idle for more than 10 seconds on the road
    o Carpool
    o Use Zipcar or public transportation
    o Bike or walk
    Fuel economy calculations and Hopkins auto-shop deals
    Fuel economy is a rating of your car's efficiency measures in miles per gallon. You can also measure fuel economy in gallons per mile. For example, a car which gets 40 miles per gallon needs 2.5 gallons per hundred miles.
    The average American drives about 12,000 miles a year. Gas prices are around $3.50 per gallon. That means a 40 mile per gallon car needs about 300 gallons of gas a year, which costs $1,050.00. A car which gets 50 miles per gallon (fuel economy improved by 25%) needs only 2 gallons per hundred miles, which translates to 240 gallons a year and $840.00; a savings of $210.00! Plus reduced wear and tear on the vehicle, safety, environmental benefits, and ... less guilt! All right!
    ~ ~ ~
    Visit Aquila Motors for 10% off tune-ups and oil changes--usually applies in the spirng.
    Aquila Motors
    New Haven, CT
    6 Fountain Street (Westville village)
  • Hopkins Garden

    Call it the Hopkins Organic Garden (HOG), the G Club, the Pumpkin Patch — call it whatever you like, but whatever you call it, the Hopkins Garden Club may never be cool. We may never have the recognition of the Debate Club either, or the gold medals of the Chemistry Team*(?). Our territory currently comprises two raised garden beds facing out onto a parking lot, so we are less likely than Maroon Key to cure world hunger.
    But the meaning behind the Hopkins Garden Club is much larger than its physical space. In a time when its easier to find produce from Argentina than from your state, this little garden is symbolic of environmental stewardship. We live in a society based on industrialized agriculture, and most of us are completely removed from the practice of growing food. The truth is that we don’t really know where our food is coming from, or what impact our gastronomic habits have on the environment. Now, the Hopkins garden is not growing enough food to save the planet — last week we harvested just about enough carrots for a batch of muffins. Hopefully, though, the garden will produce a group of students who care about the environment and recognize their roles in it, and who have the patience and dedication to make things grow.
    And who knows? Hopefully garden will expand; maybe someday the parking lot will be overrun with lettuce and squash. But that’s not up to me — only the seeds know what to do.
  • Green Cup Challenge

    The Green Cup Challenge for 2015!

    Schools who take the Challenge work together to reduce electricity consumption over a period of four weeks.

    Hopkins will track and compare our kWh savings to comparable schools during the Challenge, but we hope our energy conservation will continue long after the competition is over. The organizers like to think that this is a win-win situation for everyone. It good for the spirit of competition, it’s good for the environment, and it good for the business office’s budget.

    During the Challenge, in one month, schools saved 1,254,000 kWh of electricity. This was an average savings of $836 per school!

    Many of the Green Cup Challenge schools attend a Kick-Off Conference. Cilla Kellert attended one several years ago at the Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts.
    In order to compete, we ask students to:
    1. Turn off the lights
    2. Turn off any computer at the end of the day
    3. Think before you print
    4. Don’t plug in any devices
    5. Wear sweaters (se we can turn down the heat)

    2014 Results: We did not win, but we made good efforts to reduce our electrical consumption and raise awareness!

    2013 Results: At first it was announced we came in 1st in our category, but when more results came in we came in 4th. However, we did reduce our electricity during the month. We reduced our electricity 0.4% from Week 1 to Week 4. This translates to 852 lbs. of CO2 reduced.

    The total results from all the schools saw a 4.5% reduction in electricity, 1,036,816 reduction in KWh, and 1,396,038 lbs. of less CO2 released.

    2012 Results: Again, we did not win, but we did raise our awareness of our electric consumption!
  • Keep CT Cool

    Over the course of the academic year 2010-2011, a team of Hopkins students participated in a Keep CT Cool Contest, organized by the Institute for Sustainable Energy. 

    The team consisted of: Sophia Chu-Rubenfeld, Claire Stepanek, Amanda Dobbyn, Jerrod Dobkin, Sarah Wagner, Joe Rosen.
    Team Members were assigned to both examine and design projects and come up with a plan for making Hopkins a greener school in categories such as energy, recycling and transportation.
    To see the team’ s final report, click here.
    The team traveled to Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic on June 4, 2011.  Here the team created a table display to illustrate their plan with display boards, photos and posters. Then the team had to present their plan to judges.

    Hopkins won the contest as the Best Overall School and came back to Hopkins with a check for $2,500 for implementing more green initiatives on campus!

    For more information on this contest, please visit the following website:

Checklists for Being Green

List of 6 items.

  • Athletics

    What Coaches can do with Teams to be Green!
    Athletics Green Certification:

    Cut down on water cup use
    Use reusable water bottles
    Discourage overuse of towels
    Carpool from practice/games
    Reuse any materials
    Encourage students to recycle
    Encourage parents to be green with food with tailgating or team dinners
  • Cafe

    What the Cafe can do to be Green!
    Hopkins Green Cafe Certification:

    Set green goals
    Use daylighting as much as possible
    Turn off lights when not in use
    Keep heat moderate if you can control
    Report facility issue to maintenance ASAP
    Use google docs/email to disseminate info
    Purchase local, organic food
    Purchase fair trade coffee & tea
    Avoid excess packaging
    Avoid plastic bottled water
    Provide reusable cups/containers
    Provide discounts for bringing own cup
    Use reusable plates, cups, utensils
    Use 50% post-consumer recycled napkins
    Have plenty & clearly marked recycle bins
    Familiar with Hopkins Recycling Program
    Reuse any materials—packaging, envelopes
    Replace any appliances with Energy Star
  • Classrooms

    What Teachers can do in the Classroom to be Green!
    Classroom Green Certification:

    Use daylighting as much as possible
    Turn off lights when not in use
    Turn off projector when not in use
    Keep low heat if you can control
    Report facility issue to maintenance ASAP
    Use google docs
    PDF reading; sharing through google docs
    Print double sided
    Reduce margins to reduce paper use
    Reuse any materials
    Encourage students to recycle
    Include environmental theme in course
    Sign up for paperless memos/schedules
  • Events

    What Faculty/Staff can do to hold Green Events!
    Hopkins Green Events Certification:

    Set green goals for event
    Use daylighting as much as possible
    Turn off lights when not in use
    Keep heat moderate if you can control
    Report facility issue to maintenance ASAP
    Use google docs/email to disseminate info
    Print double-sided
    Print on 100% post-consumer, FSC Certified, chlorine-free paper only
    Purchase local, organic food
    Avoid plastic bottled water
    Use reusable plates, cups, utensils
    Use 50% post-consumer recycled napkins
    Have plenty & clearly marked recycle bins
    Familiar with Hopkins Recycling Program
    Reuse any materials—packaging, envelopes
  • Offices

    What Staff/Offices can do in the Office to be Green!
    Office Green Certification:

    Use daylighting as much as possible
    Turn off lights when not in use
    Reminders posted to turn off electronics
    Windows used properly
    Use blinds in summer to keep out heat
    Keep low heat if you can control
    Use CFL bulbs for all desk lamps
    Report facility issue to maintenance ASAP
    Use google docs
    PDF reading; sharing through google docs
    Print double-sided
    Print on 100% post-consumer, FSC Certified, chlorine-free paper only
    Purchase sustainable office supplies
    Use rechargeable batteries
    Use reusable dry-erase boards/projectors
    Familiar with Hopkins Recycling Program
    Reuse any materials—packaging, envelopes
    Hold paperless staff meetings
    Sign up for paperless memos/schedules
    Dispose of defunct E-waste properly
    Discuss Green Initiatives at meetings
    Have developed our own green strategy
  • School Store

    What the School Store can do to be Green!
    Hopkins Green School Store Certification:

    Set green goals
    Turn off lights when not in use
    Keep heat moderate if you can control
    Report facility issue to maintenance ASAP
    Use google docs/email to disseminate info
    Offer “green” option for popular items
    Purchase organic cotton
    Sell recycled paper products
    Sell reusable Hopkins water bottles
    Sell reusable Hopkins containers
    Avoid excess packaging
    Avoid using plastic bags
    Familiar with Hopkins Recycling Program
    Reuse any materials—packaging, envelopes

Latest News

  • We have started composting in the Dining Hall and are expanding it to the Cafe.
  • We will be having monthly bake sales to raise money to subsidize the sale of Nalgene reusable water bottles.
  • Thanks to the Parent Auction, we are adding hydration stations to the school campus.
  • We have participated in the Green Cup Recycling Challenge and have done very well.  We have been a champion last year and are shooting for it again this fall of 2014. 
  • Hopkins again participated in the Green Cup Energy Challenge in January and February of 2014.  We made good attempts to reduce our electricity during the month despite the very cold weather! 
  • On Friday, February 18, 2011 Hopkins went Trayless in the Dining Hall!  We are no longer washing endless trays and the food waste is noticably less. 
  • Justin Elicker, an environmentalist alderman who is running for New Haven mayor, spoke at morning assembly in April 2013. In 2012 we had a naturalist from the New Canaan Nature Center come with LIVE BIRDS! Ian Cheney, an independent filmmaker of King Corn spoke at morning assembly April of 2011. 
  • We got interesting results from a "Hopkins, Transportation and our Carbon Footprint" survey. Check out our Transportation section!
  • We came out a CHAMPION in a pilot recycling competition in April 2012 and in a full-fledged competition in October of 2012!
  • We were the BEST OVERALL school at the Keep CT Cool Sustainability Contest in 2011!
  • The senior class of 2011 gave part of their parting senior gift to Sustainbility initiatives
  • The Parent Council funded the new outdoor recycling bins--both in 2011 & 2012
  • We completed a very successful dead battery collection in the fall of 2012


  • The Hopkins Environmental Plan
    Download a copy of the Hopkins Environmental Plan, prepared by Cilla Kellert in 2008. This 49 page document outlines the environmental impact of the School on the land, operations and facilities, curriculum, and strategies for implementation.
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Hopkins is a private middle school and high school for grades 7-12. Located on a campus overlooking New Haven, CT, the School takes pride in its intellectually curious students as well as its dedicated faculty and staff.