In 2004, when the Cliff Valley School moved into a new, 47,000-square-foot building, the school became the first to win Southface EarthCraft Light Commercial certification for its use of sustainable and earth-friendly materials. The 6.8-acre campus also features outdoor classrooms, rooftop gardens, and trails that connect the 340 students to the natural world.
But last year’s seventh-grade science class still saw some room for improvement. Their initiative led to a partnership with Southface and Solarize Decatur-DeKalb that helped study the feasibility and impact of shifting to solar power. After careful analysis of the school’s energy consumption and related costs, the facilities committee recommended that solar panels be installed on the gym roof. The work was finished by August, and the panels now provide the school 62.56 kilowatts of power. Along with being environmentally friendly, the panels present a new source of educational learning as students track the energy produced and look at ways to use it efficiently. cliffvalley.org