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 Ribbon 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

The William Boyce Thompson Field House opened in January 2018 with a rooftop solar panel array that will offset the majority of the building’s electric load and is projected to save the Academy $2 million over the system’s lifetime. The Goel Center for Theater and Dance, which opened later the same year, utilizes geothermal energy. Both buildings exhibit sustainable building practices, similar to the LEED-silver certified Academy Center and three LEED-gold certified faculty houses.

To see real-time data from the solar panel array, visit the dashboard.

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. The Goel Center for Theater and Dance relies on 60 geothermal wells for heating and cooling. Plans are underway to install at least 40 more wells to support 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 Woodlands 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.

The Academy Woodlands encompass more than 800 acres of land and feature over 7 miles of hiking and biking trails. Start exploring with this trail map.