Priory and Kepler's win county sustainability awards


Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley and Kepler's Books in Menlo Park recently won environmental awards from the nonprofit Sustainable San Mateo County.

The two organizations were celebrated at the 2016 Sustainability Awards held March 31 at the College of San Mateo. Other organizational winners included the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District and the Half Moon Village senior campus in Half Moon Bay.

Kepler's was recognized as a "community champion" for reorganizing under a new business model for an independent bookstore. The store is in a partnership with the nonprofit Peninsula Arts & Letters to offer lectures, panel discussions, interviews and workshops. Some 30,000 people attended more than 200 events in 2015, and there were new programs and books for 10,000 students in schools in Belle Haven and East Palo Alto, according to the announcement of the awards.

The Priory, a private, co-ed, Catholic boarding school for grades 6-12, won a green-building award for deconstructing a building on campus and reusing much of the recovered materials in constructing new classroom buildings and a faculty resource center. The mechanical systems in the new buildings perform almost 50 percent better than state requirements, and the buildings are expected to have carbon footprints of zero or lower, the announcement says.

Buildings like the Priory's classrooms that contribute to the long-term health of the community are highly valued, as are local businesses like Kepler's that support students in nearby neighborhoods, Sustainable spokeswoman Adrienne Etherton said.

"We were impressed by Kepler's because of their perseverance in a difficult industry and ability to remain a successful part of our local economy, as well as their dedication to providing an educational community space and giving back to students in surrounding low-income communities," Ms. Etherton said. "Woodside Priory clearly had a deep dedication to the environment in the design, construction and operation of their facility, and reaching a net zero or negative carbon footprint is an impressive milestone."

— Dave Boyce

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