Sustainability and Trees

Protecting our Environment

Castilleja School’s campus Master Plan sets a new bar for enduring, environmentally-sound design and construction. California outlined a new sustainability benchmark for the world, committing to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 80% by the year 2050. The City of Palo Alto recently approved the Sustainability Climate Action Plan (S/CAP) outlining strategies to reach that goal even sooner--by 2030. Castilleja’s new campus Master Plan surpasses both standards, with even more comprehensive solutions for a clean and sustainable future and the following elements working in tandem:

  • Fossil Fuel-Free - outside of instructional use in science labs

  • Energy - entirely generated through on-site solar, heat recovery, or renewable credits

  • Transportation - new electric shuttle routes, ride-sharing, bike parking, and charging stations for electric vehicles

  • Water - high-efficiency and recycled-water infrastructure

  • Landscaping - dozens of new trees and drought-resistant plantings

  • Green Materials - non-hazardous and responsibly sourced 

  • Light and Air - optimized ventilation and efficiency

  • Deconstruction - disassemble old campus buildings and separate materials on-site to maximize reuse and recycling
  •  Reuse - salvageable building materials from old campus buildings in new campus design

Castilleja is not only committed to minimizing its environmental footprint on campus but also to integrating environmental education into the curriculum. By teaching students to be environmental stewards, the seeds of conservation will be planted in the next generation of leaders.

Palo Alto is an homage to tall trees. A verdant oasis in the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley, the Castilleja campus is covered with a lush tree canopy that is good for the environment, shades our students on sunny days, and provides a park-like interface with our residential neighborhood. It was with great care and with knowledge of the special place trees hold in our community that we undertook the landscaping portion of our master planning process. The tree plan in our Project Alternative includes planting 103 new trees, and preserving heritage trees; approximately 139 trees will either be left untouched or relocated. We appreciate that trees are as important to our neighbors as they are to the Castilleja community, and we will be available to discuss this issue with those who are interested.