Lake Placid In mid-February, North Country School took delivery of an unusual item: a small, fully electric, zero emission vehicle. Made by Minnesota-based e-ride Industries, the so-called neighborhood vehicles are popular with colleges, universities, and U.S. military facilities as they try to reduce costs and meet institutional goals for clean energy.
At North Country School, the two-person, flatbed truck is charged overnight and used primarily for transporting trash, recycling, furniture, and other large, bulky items around the 200-acre campus. It is not used on public roads.
“We believe that this is the first truck of its kind in the Adirondacks,” said John Culpepper, Director of Facilities and Sustainability at North Country School and Camp Treetops. “More important, of course, are the reductions we expect to see in our consumption of gasoline and our carbon footprint.”
The new vehicle replaces an aging one-ton dump truck. Culpepper estimates that the School and Camp will save 500 gallons of gas a year for an average annual decrease in the carbon footprint of more than 10,000 pounds. The cost savings of nearly $2,000 a year will be put to good use elsewhere.
The new electric truck is just the latest in a long series of steps intended to conserve natural resources and protect the environment. These include extensive recycling and composting; converting all building heating systems away from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy; and sustainable forestry practices that utilize lumber cut from campus forests in construction and wood shop projects. The School and Camp also operate a small, multi-purpose farm that produces eggs, poultry, pork, maple syrup, wool, and thousands of pounds of vegetables, greens, and herbs. By working on the farm, students and campers learn first-hand about local food production and practices of sustainable living.