Sustainability at The Putney School is a way of life. Because of that, many of the amazing things that regularly transpire here are not applauded as initiatives because they are simply part of the fabric of our daily experience. In other words, “It’s just what we do.”
As I’m just about to start the college process, I’ve been researching various schools and campuses. I find myself looking for the same characteristics that I was so lucky to come across at Putney, all of which I had never expected to value as much as I do now!” — Gio ’22
From our Net-Zero LEED Platinum Field House that consumes less energy than it produces, to growing a portion of our own food, to a Sustainability Squad made up of students with an advisor, sustainability and stewardship are integral parts of the Putney experience.
What else would you expect from a school located on a 500-acre working dairy farm in southeastern Vermont?
Every student here is required to spend a semester working in the barn before graduation, although many come back for much, much more. Farming, even in this day and age is still satisfying and confidence-boosting work.
As far as the physical plant is concerned, our current strategic plan states that “A sustainable campus is both an educational and a financial goal.” This commitment is what led to the creation our Field House, the first net-zero and LEED Platinum school building in the United States.
Besides winning us accolades, which we appreciated but weren’t pursuing, the Field House has been in many publications and has hosted visits from other educational institutions, businesses, and organizations who want to see how a building of this size can be constructed today, affordably, with current technology. We hope it will serve as an example to everyone planning a new building in the near future.
On a smaller scale, students have designed our latest two-student cabin. It is super-insulated, oriented for maximum solar gain, solar powered, and heated with a yacht stove that burns twigs. Students built the cabin from donated insulating panels and many found parts.
Sustainability and ingenuity are just part of who we are.
And, they’re the bedrock of our future. Our latest Master Plan describes the steps we’re taking to become a net-zero campus. Our next step is to upgrade the efficiency of our current buildings while keeping their bucolic appeal.