School Operations

Careful consideration of the environment influences nearly all aspects of school life (read our Mission Statement below). A U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbons School, Exeter has increasingly utilized green building practices, and now all major projects follow a nationally-recognized protocol for sustainable construction. This commitment carries through to the food vendors we choose to supply our dining halls and how we manage the 672 acres of forestland owned by the Academy.

Design and Construction

In 2018, when the new athletic field house opens on South Campus, its roof will be equipped with a solar panel array that will generate electricity for the athletic complex. When the Goel Center for Theater and Dance opens that same year, it will utilize geothermal energy. Both buildings will exhibit sustainable building practices, similar to the LEED-silver certified Academy Center and three LEED-gold certified faculty houses.

Energy Conservation

When Exeter converted its central heating plant from oil to natural gas, it reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 63 percent. Installation of 49 geothermal wells beneath the Academy lawn has eliminated fossil fuel use in Phillips Hall and improved energy efficiency by as much as 30 percent. Plans are underway to install at least 40 more wells to heat and cool the Academy Building. Routine energy audits and metering of campus buildings identify additional ways to improve efficiency.

Waste Reduction

Most of the waste we generate on campus can be recycled, or where possible, composted. Exeter composts food in both dining halls and its eatery in the Academy Center. Several dorms, thanks to student leaders, also compost. To encourage recycling, Exeter introduced “Tiny Trash” in administrative offices, replacing larger waste baskets with small, desktop containers that each employee empties. The campus also became a plastic water-bottle free site in 2012, with the installation of water-bottle filling and drinking stations and the distribution of reusable bottles.

Sustainable Dining

The introduction of trayless dining at Exeter’s largest dining hall reduced food waste by as much as 30 percent. In addition to composting, Dining Services recycles all cardboard and converted from fryer oil to biodiesel. More than 25 percent of our food is sourced within 250 miles of campus, and we serve local, sustainably-harvested fish.

Natural Resource Management

Our Natural Resources Plan sets forth a long-term management plan to ensure the viability of the Academy Woods and Colby fields, and the Exeter River watershed. The plan’s goals include maintaining healthy ecosystems, providing an unparalleled outdoor classroom and year-round recreational opportunities, and protecting the valuable natural resources within these special tracts of land.

Environmental Mission Statement

Phillips Exeter Academy must be committed to stewardship of the environment.  Recognizing we are all but one small part of the natural world, we must value, protect, preserve, and replenish natural resources.  While our actions are local, our reach is global.

We must foster a culture of environmental awareness, which should be integral to our community in all venues of daily life, on and off campus—where we learn, where we work, where we live, and where we play.  In practice, we need to respect our environment, reduce our consumption, and recycle to ensure that the natural resources we treasure are preserved and sustained for the future.

As an institution, our priorities, decisions, and actions will be informed by their environmental impact.  We should pay particular attention to the use of our land, the construction and renovation of our facilities, our consumption of energy and other resources, and our choices of transportation.

The Academy must educate our entire community about environmental issues and sound environmental practices.  To address that part of the Academy's mission that seeks to graduate young people "whose interest in others and the world around them surpasses their self concern," we must be vigilant in our efforts to prepare future generations for stewardship of the environment.