Photovoltaic (PV) technology converts sunlight into electrical energy. A single PV device is known as a cell. An individual PV cell is usually small, typically producing about 1 or 2 watts of power. These cells are made of different semiconductor materials and are often less than the thickness of four human hairs. In order to withstand the outdoors for many years, cells are sandwiched between protective materials in a combination of glass and/or plastics. (Source: U.S. Department of Energy)
As of 2022, MCPS has 17 solar PV locations with a total estimated capacity of 4.1 megawatts (MW) direct current installed. Eight additional sites are under development.
Bioretention practices, such as rain gardens, are landscaped depressions that treat on-site stormwater discharge from impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways, sidewalks, parking lots and compacted lawns. They are used to collect stormwater and filter it through a mixture of soil, sand and/or gravel. The designs of bioretention practices mimic volume reduction and pollutant removal mechanisms that work in natural systems. The filtered stormwater soaks into the ground, provides water to plants and can help recharge the local groundwater supply. Through these processes, bioretention practices reduce peak flows within downstream sewer systems and allow pollutant removal through filtration and plant uptake. (Source: U.S. EPA)
As of 2023, a total of 87 MCPS schools have bioretention systems.
Geothermal technology harnesses the Earth’s heat. Just a few feet below the surface, the Earth maintains a near-constant temperature, in contrast to the summer and winter extremes of the ambient air above ground. Farther below the surface, the temperature increases at an average rate of approximately 1°F for every 70 feet in depth. (Source: U.S. EPA). To learn more about geothermal heating and cooling technologies, click here.
As of 2022, a total of 32 MCPS schools have geothermal heating and cooling systems.
A green roof is a layer of vegetation planted over a waterproofing system that is installed on top of a flat or slightly–sloped roof. Green roofs are also known as vegetative or eco–roofs. (Source: National Park Service)
As of 2023, a total of 41 MCPS schools have partial or full green roofs.