Office and Operational Practices
• Buy only recycled copy and printer paper and re-use until both sides are utilized.
• Spirit Rock letterhead is printed with soy based inks on recycled paper.
• All cleaning materials are non-toxic, biodegradable and fragrance free.
• We do not provide plastic bags for shoppers in our bookstore.
• Use rechargeable batteries where feasible.
• Use roll, cloth towels in restrooms instead of paper towels.
• Some staff live on-site, eliminating the need to commute to and from work.
• Serve only vegetarian meals.
• Use of CFL bulbs vs. incandescent bulbs wherever possible.
• Spirit Rock installed solar panels--despite our nonprofit status that prevents us from taking advantage of federal solar energy tax credits.
• Most electric vehicles used onsite are powered by solar energy.
Photoelectric panels already supplement electric power use at Spirit Rock. These facilities will be significantly upgraded. When installed, the power generated by the solar array will essentially eliminate 100% of our current PG&E electric bill. In this first phase, SR will install a total of 336 SunPower 345w modules that will generate 105.9 kW of DC electricity. The solar system is configured to allow for easy expansion of another 75.2kW DC electricity. SunPower is a U.S. company and their ethical and green manufacturing processes have been vetted by independent industry experts. Using conservative industry calculations, the solar system will eliminate between 2,400 and 3,600 tons of CO2 over 25 years, which is equivalent to planting 40 to 60 acres of trees. The current estimate for installation and usage is October 2014.
• Electric vehicles are used on property.
• Staff members use bicycles to get around property.
• Shopping lists are consolidated to minimize travel into town and lower our carbon footprint.
• Long-running carpool program and ride-share board on website.
Spirit Rock has been composting food and animal waste for many years. Food scraps from the kitchen and dining hall are composted daily, largely reducing waste. Combined with water, heat from the sun, manure from our horses and an occasional stir, the ‘waste’ becomes fertile organic mix in just a couple months. This rich, organic mix is then used throughout the property for planting and other ongoing land care projects.
• Avoid purchasing plastic materials wherever possible and purchase only compostable paper plates and cups when absolutely necessary.
• People attending our events are encouraged to bring their own mugs, water bottles and lunch utensils.
• Filtered water is provided throughout the campus for refilling bottles.
Plants and Land Care
• We plant mostly native, drought-resistant plants. Spirit Rock staff and volunteers do the majority of our planting during the Fall and early Winter in order to take advantage of the rainy season to help establish these plantings. Planting at this time of the year also conserves water and creates less of a dependence on irrigation systems, which are costly, high maintenance and disturb soil structure.
• In our Native Plant Propagation Nursery, we grow many of our native plants from seed and cuttings. The plants are grown in our homemade potting mix.
• Strategic plantings are routinely carried out to preserve streambeds, address erosion and contribute to the biodiversity and wildlife habitat of the area.
• We have planted over 400 native and drought resistant shrubs and trees over the past five years.
• We monitor, remediate and close trails to control erosion problems and protect our creeks.
• We leave cut Oaks (from Sudden Oak Death) to decompose naturally. This feeds soil and emerging plants and trees, and is best practice for stopping the advance of the disease. We treat and monitor as many of these susceptible Oaks as possible.
• We have been addressing and monitoring French Broom and other highly invasive plants for the past 10 years.
• As much as possible, we tend to fuel load build up in our Woodlands and Grasslands and are working towards Regenerative Grassland Stewardship projects
• We have been working with Wildcare to tend to our Barn Owl and Western Bluebird boxes.
• Spirit Rock’s Land Policy states that we will never use Rodenticides or Chemical and Synthetic fertilizers of any kind on the land.
• We purchase outdoor benches from an eco-friendly bench supplier to ensure our benches are made from sustainable forest products.
Reuse and Recycle
• Unclaimed lost and found items are reused when possible rather than thrown away.
• A diligent effort is made to dispose of surplus furniture on Craigslist or eBay.
• Recycle building materials as well as paper, cardboard, glass and cans. Recycle bins are located outside of every building.
• Used computers and monitors delivered to e-waste recyclers.
• We even recycle toilet paper rolls & wrappers.
• Converted wood-fueled Council House fireplace that contributes to local particulate pollution to natural gas for cleaner air.
Green Features of Existing Construction
• Recycled siding used to prevent any old-growth timber from being consumed.
• Passive solar ventilation reduces need for heating and cooling.
• Cupola provides natural light, reducing electricity use.
• Large skylights provide natural daylight, greatly reducing hallway lighting.
• Water-saving fixtures such as showers and toilets
• Energy efficient windows
• Maintain one residence hall for individuals with environmental sensitivities.
• No air conditioning used in residence halls.
• Congregate living–co-op baths saves square footage, heating, and all resources used to build new spaces.
If you have questions about our green practices, land stewardship or green building efforts, please contact John Grifith, Facilities Manager at 415.488.0164, ext. 215