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PPS Sustainability Initiatives  

A wide variety of sustainability-related learning experiences are woven into the everyday culture and the curriculum throughout the district. Please review the following areas in which we’ve already made progress.

District-wide Programs & School Board Policies

  • In 2023, the PPS Board of Education enacted a revised District Sustainability Policy to indicate sustainable target areas throughout the district.

  • The District is working to enact a suite of sustainably-related policies that will be sub-policies within the broader Sustainability Policy, starting with a new Safe Routes to School policy, enacted in 2023.

  • The Operations Subcommittee of the PPS Board of Education addresses sustainability topics on an ongoing basis.

  • All schools within PPS now have Green Teams who are working to make their schools more sustainable. Four schools have received Bronze certification through Sustainable Jersey for Schools: Littlebrook, Riverside, Johnson Park, and Princeton High School.

  • In 2023, several administrators and educators from Princeton Public Schools attended a one-day conference focused on K-5 Climate Change Education at TCNJ. Curriculum professionals and teacher-leaders learned strategies for integrating climate change instruction across content areas and grade levels.

  • In 2022, the district held a Sustainability in our Schools World Café which yielded a Harvest of Ideas and Inspiration that is helping to guide the district's efforts.

  • In 2022, the district compiled a list of Partners & Resources for Sustainability in our Schools.


  • The district uses EnergySTAR Portfolio Manager to monitor its energy and natural gas use and track the progress of energy efficiency upgrades.

  • In 2021, all four elementary schools received substantial upgrades to bring in more energy-efficient lighting and HVAC that are anticipated to lower the district’s utility costs.

  • The district is evaluating opportunities to use an Energy Savings Improvement Plan (ESIP) to finance energy efficiency improvements at PHS and PMS with no upfront costs.  An ESIP is a financing mechanism that allows schools in NJ to make energy-related improvements to their facilities using the value of energy savings that result from the improvements.

  • In 2022, roof work was initiated at Littlebrook and Community Park elementary schools, which included increases in insulation. Not only has this improved the learning and working environment, it is also leading to energy savings.

  • Work is underway to launch an Energy Efficiency Campaign within our schools to help lower energy usage and costs even further.

  • After roof work is completed in 2024, the district is eager to bring solar panels to the schools via a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Most schools utilize a PPA to get solar because it avoids a capital expenditure or a referendum.


  • In 2022, the district surveyed staff to determine which school(s) have staff with the most interest in purchasing or leasing electric vehicles. A total of 182 persons responded and demonstrated strong support for the district to seek grants and funds to bring EV charging to employees. Please review the survey results here.

  • The district continues to seek grants and other funding opportunities that can bring EV charging to one or more locations. 

  • The district also strives to find funding that could begin the process of electrifying its fleet. For example, it has applied for the EPA's Clean School Bus Rebate.

Natural Resources

  • With the 2018 referendum, the district expanded an additional retention basin to at least partially mitigate future flooding around the Performing Arts Center at Princeton High School.

  • The district is in the process of naturalizing this Tennis Court detention basin, while the PHS EcoLab, a naturalized retention basin, is maintained by community volunteers and PHS educators.

  • In partnership with the Municipality of Princeton, the district received a $10,000 Sustainable Jersey grant funded by the Gardinier Environmental Fund to explore the transition from gas-powered landscaping equipment.

  • As part of this grant, the grounds crew received a new battery-powered backpack leaf blower and are providing feedback on its usefulness. 

Materials Management

  • Beginning in the Fall of 2021 the district resumed food waste collection for all six schools. Currently, Trenton Biogas accepts PPS food scraps and converts it into renewable energy.

  • In the summer of 2022, the district transitioned to greener cleaning with six different cleaning products. The floor cleaner, glass cleaner, degreaser, hand soap, paper towels, and toilet paper used within PPS are all certified by Green Seal, indicating that they meet the highest standard for protecting the health and the environment.
  • In 2023, Johnson Park elementary received a grant from NJEA and Sustainable Jersey for Schools to get a full set of reusable serviceware that is used for classroom and PTO parties. All elementary schools within the district now have reusables for this purpose.