Sustainability at Graded
Graded has forged a partnership with sustainability firm Reconectta to help our school institutionalize our commitment to the environment and fulfill the moral imperative that we, as educators, have to promote a more equitable and sustainable society.
Following an extensive selection process involving four candidates, a committee comprised of Graded leadership, faculty, staff, and students selected the firm as our partner on this journey. Reconectta is a B-certified social enterprise with extensive experience in school-based sustainability education.
Several paradigm shifts have occurred over the past several decades, and social-environmental concerns have received more attention as well as prioritization by leaders, organizations, and societies. We recognize the enormous potential and significance of sustainability education in schools. We believe that by immersing our students in current events, global movements, and socio-environmental challenges, we can help influence behavior and promote the importance of sustainability in our daily lives.
Reconectta's team of educators, environmental engineers, and biologists will work closely with Graded students, faculty, and staff to ensure the success of our sustainability-focused curriculum. Our initiatives will bring us closer to achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 global goals to identify priorities and implement measures that would contribute to the development of a better, more sustainable world by 2030.
With the understanding that cultures are not transformed overnight, Graded will continue to explore innovative, collaborative ways to affect positive change and help improve our global environmental outlook.
Two solar heating systems were installed on the Graded Athletics Center roof during the facility’s 2018 construction. The first system, made up of spiral collectors, heats our swimming pool. The second system heats the water for the Athletics Center locker room showers and comprises 24 solar panels.
SCHOOL ENERGY SUPPLY
In 2019, Graded migrated to a new energy supply system called Mercado Livre de Energia. Instead of purchasing electricity from the region's official energy supplier, the school began obtaining energy from various sustainable sources. By employing wind, solar, and biomass energy, Graded avoids disrupting the natural water flow that occurs when using hydroelectricity.
We keep track of our water consumption on a monthly basis to avoid any leaks or water loss. In addition, our faucets and toilet flush systems include a water reduction mechanism. Graded also has a reusable water system, which collects and redirects rainwater to the Athletics Center and the Main Parking Garage sewage systems.
VEGETABLE GARDEN AND GREEN CLUB
A lower school vegetable garden enables K4, K5, and grade 1 students to plant, harvest, and eat a variety of vegetables. Students have made delicious mint tea, pesto sauce, and salad from the greens they grew and picked. This project teaches children about the origin of some of their food and the workings of the natural world.
Lower school students can also join the Graded Green Club. Club members discuss critical topics like recycling, ecosystems, and waste management. They also look after a worm compost bin and use some of the worm humus to fertilize the vegetable garden.
At Graded, trash is collected in color-coded containers and transported to RECICLE AQUI, a waste management cooperative that separates waste and sends it to designated recycling facilities where paper, glass, metal, and plastic are processed. This initiative increases employment opportunities for cooperative members and redirects recyclable material that would have otherwise been sent to landfills.
Cafeteria leftovers currently generate a daily average of 200 kilograms of waste, of which 70 kilograms are organic (peels, seeds, and other unusable food parts). Paper bags, paper cups, and napkins make up the remaining waste materials. (Whatever can be recycled is separated.)
Under law number 11.575, the state of São Paulo prohibits the donation or reuse of food served at heated or refrigerated counters. Therefore, the cafeteria is unable to donate most of the leftover food.
Another initiative is underway. Graded is exploring the possibility of utilizing a new, more extensive composting system to further reduce this kind of waste. The fertilizer generated would be used to help sustain our garden.