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May 7, 2019

Luke Massman-Johnson, Communications Director, American Green Zone Alliance, luke@agza.net, (323) 445-1613
Linda Ornelas, Director of Marketing, East Side Union High School District, ornelasl@esuhsd.org, (408) 347-5014

American Green Zone Alliance Certifies Yerba Buena High School as the First AGZA Green Zone® High School in the Nation.

San Jose, CA — Yerba Buena High School (YBHS), part of East Side Union High School District, has been certified as the first AGZA Green Zone® High School in the United States. The American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA) will formally award the sustainability achievement in a ceremony at the high school on Monday, May 13th at 10 a.m.

“Yerba Buena High School is honored to be selected as AGZA’s first Green Zone high school in the country,” said Tom Huynh, Yerba Buena High School Principal. “This effort complements our environmentally focused curricula in our engineering and architecture academies. I am grateful for the hard work put forth from our district, our school, and AGZA.”

An AGZA Green Zone is a defined property on which all routine grounds maintenance is performed with low-noise zero-emission battery-electric equipment. Green Zones slash noise pollution and  and dramatically reduce costs for maintenance and parts, resulting in a very healthy ROI and significant ongoing profitability over gas operations.

A school campus is an ideal setting for all the benefits of an AGZA Green Zone. Students, faculty, and the surrounding community will appreciate the quieter pollution-free grounds operations. Crews will benefit from safer and healthier working conditions and can take pride in being an integral part of improving the quality of life for everyone on campus.

The results are very impressive. Over four tons of airborne pollution — CO2, CO, HC, PM2.5 and NOx — as well as all solid and toxic waste streams from gas parts and maintenance, will be eliminated from the campus every single year. Noise pollution has been reduced by at least 40% – 70%. And overall hourly operational costs are considerably lower.

•  6,483 lb (3.24 t) Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
•  1,912 lb (0.96 t) Carbon Monoxide (CO)
•  294 lb non-methane Hydrocarbons (HC)
•  61 lb fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5)
•  11 lb Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
•  Reduced solid and toxic waste stream
•  Reduced noise pollution at least 40% – 70%
•  Reduced operational cost per hour

“ESUHSD is proud to collaborate with AGZA as it highlights our continued commitment in providing a healthy and safe environment to students, staff, and community members,” said Roger Silveira, Director of Facilities, Maintenance & Operations.

The AGZA + YBHS collaboration began with the vision of Roger and support from ESUHSD’s Superintendent, Chris Funk. Roger had been integrally involved with Yerba Buena High School Principal Tom Huynh in the sustainability programs at the high school, including a student garden that provides food for the cafeteria, a large solar array covering the main parking lot, and the development of the student union.

Roger and Tom recognized that gas-powered grounds maintenance operations at Yerba Buena were inconsistent with all the other green leadership they had been applying on campus, and that swapping their gas fleet for battery-electric tools could eliminate those impacts.

After a visit to the Yerba Buena campus by Dan Mabe, President of AGZA, Roger drafted a battery-electric equipment wish list which included the industry’s best-performing commercial-grade equipment from STIHL and Mean Green Mowers. He reached out to Brian Santo of Gardenland Power Equipment in Campbell, CA to fulfill the purchase order.

But equipment is only part of the story, so the school district retained American Green Zone Alliance for expert guidance during the transition.

American Green Zone Alliance developed AGZA Green Zone® Certification to be the most rigorous program for measuring and eliminating the serious health and environmental impacts of ongoing gas-powered landscape maintenance. The AGZA Green Zone protects all 30 serviceable acres of Yerba Buena’s campus.

“Roger Silveira is one of the most forward-thinking facilities managers AGZA has worked with,” said Dan Mabe, President of AGZA. “Roger partnered with AGZA to ensure the sustainability initiatives of his school district are leveraged as teachable moments for staff, student body, and surrounding communities.”

The final step will be the AGZA Green Zone City Certification ceremony on May 13th. This first-ever campus-wide AGZA Certification makes Yerba Buena not only a sustainability model for the twelve other high schools in ESUHSD, it will be a showcase and inspiration for school districts across the country.

With the AGZA Green Zone model proven at Yerba Buena, ESUHSD is turning its focus on converting the remaining twelve high school campuses to zero-emission sustainable equipment and operations as well. The last significant challenge is identifying and securing the financial resources to replace the gas equipment fleets.

Based on funding successes strategized by AGZA and state air districts for previous AGZA Green Zone projects, AGZA and ESUHSD are optimistic California Air Resources Board and Bay Area AQMD can find and apply funding mechanisms to expand this program throughout the school district. Support from CARB and air districts on emissions reductions programs such as these have been proven to be highly cost effective in helping communities and air districts achieve their air quality attainment goals.

The nation’s first AGZA Green Zone High School at Yerba Buena High School will be a springboard for creating the nation’s first entire AGZA Green Zone High School District — a monumental sustainability accomplishment worthy of national attention.

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East Side Union High School District, established in 1950, serves more than 23,000 students in grades 9-12 in San Jose, Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley). The district has approximately 2,000 employees. It has the seventh largest high school student enrollment in the state and the largest in northern California. The district’s mission is to align decisions to create safe, dynamic and relevant learning environments that inspire critical thinking, problem solving and innovation. www.esuhsd.org.

American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA) is the global leader in zero-emission sustainable grounds maintenance strategies. AGZA educates and certifies commercial grounds maintenance crews as AGZA Service Pros, and certifies properties maintained with quiet zero-emission battery-electric equipment and hand tools as AGZA Green Zones®. www.AGZA.net.

For more info on the AGZA Green Zone at Yerba Buena High School please visit www.agza.net/agza-gz-ybhs.

About the Author

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Dan Mabe is the founder and president of AGZA.

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