Sustainability at Harker

We make a concerted effort to minimize our resource use and create a healthy environment for our students, faculty and staff.

green logo

Sustainability at Harker

In June 2016 Harker became certified as a Bay Area Green Business by the county of Santa Clara. This honor is a culmination of decades of environmental awareness and a continuing effort to bring sustainability to all aspects of our school. Our Green Mission is "Modeling and teaching a sustainable relationship with the environment."


Educating Our Students

We observe Earth Day every day at Harker. We educate students about sustainability throughout the year. Freshmen enjoy a service day that includes work outings to the Guadalupe Park Conservancy. Teachers host activities in and out of their classrooms that feature sustainability curriculum. And student clubs gives its members an opportunity to work on their own green initiatives at each division. Enjoy this video recap of some of our efforts on our campus and beyond.

Nichols Hall


Harker takes being green seriously, in both big and small ways. Nichols Hall, opened in 2009, was the first LEED Gold certified school building in Santa Clara County. And our two newest facilities, open in 2018-19, are also LEED Gold certified. Our new performing arts and athletic centers are highly energy efficient, including a 140-kilowatt photovoltaic system to keep the buildings about 25% off the grid. Harker also has an Integrated Pest Management Program that uses a variety of techniques to minimize the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. And we have protocols in place to keep water use at a minimum, including letting our fields go brown in the drought; reduce electricity and gas usage in classrooms; and to transform the way we dispose of hazardous waste from art classes and regular maintenance.

Nichols Hall: LEED Certified

salad bar

Food Program

Our students know that the food at school is great. But they may not realize that we run our kitchens with the same sustainability goals as the rest of our campus. Batch cooking ensures freshness and reduces waste. Much of our food comes from local farms, including non-GMO produce and our hormone-free dairy products and free-range and cage-free chickens and eggs. And we make sure all our vendors are using good practices. More about food at Harker.

shuttle bus


Our transportation system is comprehensive: we have shuttles running between our four campuses, we run home-to-school bus service to three locations in the Bay Area, and we provide carpool vouchers to our staff. All of these measures encourage fewer cars on the road. Our students got into the act by launching a "no idling" campaign to keep cars turned off while in the pickup zone. More about transportation.

student teachers throwing away trash


Being green isn't just for teachers and students. Our entire community gets into the act. Our Sustainability Committee has representatives from the faculty and several offices including food service, communications and the business office. The committee's Google site has updates about their work and an online suggestion form that allows anyone - parents, students, faculty and staff - to make green suggestions. We also have an environmentally friendly purchasing policy; we use 30% recycled paper in printer and photocopies and encourage reductions among offices and classrooms; and our successful implementation of a "compost/other" recycling system earned us a commendation from the city of San Jose.

We are also partnering with the Muwekma Tribe’s recycling programs, which include The Green Education Foundation and Seventh Generation Recycling.

Area drop-off bins near Harker campuses:

Capitol Light Rail Station parking lot: 3911 Narvaez Ave, San Jose
Westhope Presbyterian Church: 12850 Saratoga Ave., Saratoga
Behind Westfield Oakridge Mall, off Winfield Ave., San Jose


Here are some recent stories about sustainability from Harker News.

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