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 printed publications (newsletters, schedules and general correspondence) are printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks. We use Alonzo Printing for all our outside printing needs, an award-winning company that has been dedicated to best practices for the environment using 100% recycled, tree-free paper and soy-based inks for the last 20 years.
• 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.
• 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 landscaping projects on the land.
• 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 Landscaping
• We plant native, drought-resistant plants in our landscape. Spirit Rock does 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. This conserves water and creates less of a dependence on irrigation systems, which are costly, high maintenance and disturb soil structure.
• Strategic plantings are routinely carried out to preserve streambeds, address erosion and contribute to the wildlife habitat of the area.
• We have planted over 100 trees in the past five years.
• Leave cut oaks (from sudden oak death) to decompose naturally. This feeds soil and emerging plants and trees, and is best practice for stopping advance of the disease.
• Purchase outdoor benches from an eco-friendly bench supplier to ensure our benches are from sustainable forest products.
• Monitor and close trails to control erosion problems.
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.
• An improved septic system technology
• More on-site staff (24 total) living in congregate housing, sharing meals, etc. and significantly reducing the carbon footprint of each of those people and the resources required to build their less-green housing elsewhere.
• More use of solar energy, with a goal of carbon neutral living.
• Incorporating green practices in all aspects of building design and construction.