Sustainability at Head-Royce

Head-Royce School's Green Mission statement was implemented in 2006 to provide a healthy school environment while promoting ecological sustainability. The School's ongoing commitment to cultivating constructive and responsible global and local citizens can be seen from our infrastructure to our faculty- and student-led initiatives.

Here are just some of the ways we are carrying out our Green Mission!

Bay Area Green Business

Head-Royce is focused on creating a more sustainable future as a proud Bay Area Green Certified Business.

The Bay Area Green Business Program is a network of 9 county based programs coordinated by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). The Program assists and recognizes small businesses and public agencies that implement measures to conserve energy and water, minimize waste and prevent pollution. The Program recommends dozens of best practices, many of which reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and verifies that businesses meet the standards. More than 1,800 businesses have been certified since the Program's inception in 1996.

Along with helping to make businesses greener, the Green Business Program provides the following co-benefits:

  • Improves regulatory compliance
  • Helps agencies and utility companies achieve conservation/pollution prevention objectives
  • Fosters interagency cooperation/coordination
  • Establishes constructive relationships with businesses, facilitating ongoing education and improvement
  • Boosts business viability – more efficient businesses are often more successful
  • Provides residents with a way to identify green businesses

LEED Certifications

Head-Royce currently houses an array of 90kW solar panels and LEED-certified energy efficient buildings.

Carbon Lighthouse + Solar Technology

Head-Royce has partnered with Carbon Lighthouse, an innovative environmental organization whose mission is to stop climate change. Carbon Lighthouse helps Head-Royce reduce its carbon footprint by using sensors and predictive algorithms to optimize our lighting controls and current solar panels. This partnership will ensure the campus is carbon neutral in 20-plus years, which translates to a $4MM in lifetime energy savings for the School.

School Garden

Approaching its 10th anniversary, the Head-Royce School Garden is managed by Gardening Teacher Christy Betts. The garden provides K-5 students the opportunity to explore and understand the various processes that produce the food we eat - from farm to table and back again! The curriculum focuses on teaching low-impact, environmentally responsible principles in order to maintain and support the health of the environment - both locally and globally. The garden also supports a robust composting system, which receives nearly 90% of its compost from the School's waste.

Food + Dining

Epicurean Group, our food service provider, is dedicated to serving fresh, seasonal, and organic foods at every meal. Never relying on national vendors who deliver chemically processed and preserved food, Epicurean partners with local vendors within 150 miles of our campus to obtain and serve the highest quality and environmentally responsible food to our School community.

  • Alyssa Peddy, of Epicurean Group and the general manager of The Jayhawk Cafe, our campus cafeteria, makes sure the cafe is fully stocked with bio-plastic (compostable) utensils and cups for our student, professional community member, and visitor use.
  • Napkins and paper towels are produced from post-consumer recycled material.
  • Students and faculty separate their food leftovers by organics, recyclables, and garbage.
  • The majority of the compost in our School garden, comes from all of the pre-consumer waste (choppings discarded during meal preparation) produced by the Epicurean staff in the Jayhawk Cafe, which averages out to nearly 1,000 pounds of food waste that we are able to convert to renewable energy every two weeks - and that's before the meals ever hit the table!

Zero Waste

In 2006, the City of Oakland resolved to adopt a Zero Waste Goal by 2020 and Head-Royce remains committed to this endeavor. In that vein, Head-Royce has implemented its own School-wide Zero Waste Week in an attempt to experiment with other potential improvements to its waste management system. Zero Waste Week pairs the spirit of competition with the School's collective efforts at conserving resources.

The school has also replaced garbage bins with site-specific signage for organics (compost), recycling, and garbage (refuse) only receptacles, effectively reducing the number of landfill pick-ups each week.

Transportation Footprint


Head-Royce is committed to providing a healthy environment for students and staff while promoting ecological sustainability.

The School seeks to:

  • use resources in a sustainable way, by utilizing energy efficiently and by incorporating clean, renewable technologies in existing buildings and in new construction;
  • create a healthy educational community by offering nutritional food on campus, by expanding the on-campus green schoolyard garden program, and by participating in the farm-to-school program;
  • develop the educational program to emphasize ecological sustainability, environmental health, nutrition, personal responsibility, and leadership;
  • ensure that the School environment is as free as possible from toxic substances or harmful chemicals; and,
  • urge the wider School community—faculty, administration, staff, parents, and alumni—to embrace the effort to pursue sustainable living practices.

By teaching our students to be stewards of their communities, the earth and its resources, we strive to educate the next generation of leaders to make a difference in improving the environment for humanity.

We are grateful to the National Association of Independent Schools and the Green Schools Initiative for assistance in preparing this mission statement. Endorsed by the Administrative Council, the Green Council, the Upper School Student Council, and the School's faculty.

Approved by the Board of Trustees, October 19, 2006

Gene Vann
Sustainability Director

Learn about our Ecoliteracy curriculum in the Lower School