The King County, Wash., Green Schools Program has honored the Auburn School District for improving its recycling practices and other conservation efforts.

With assistance from the Green Schools Program, recycling rates at 16 of the district's 22 schools have risen during the past two school years. For instance, Gildo Rey Elementary School increased its recycling rate from 43 percent to 67 percent. That enabled the school to reduce garbage pickup to once a week instead of twice a week and saved about $425 a month or $4,230 a year.

Other energy- and water-saving steps in the district: installing programmable thermostats in portable classrooms; maintaining “energy misers” on vending machines; checking schools for personal-use appliances, which are discouraged by policy; using software that shuts down computers after extended periods of inactivity; installing faucet aerators and low-flow faucets; and installing rain gauges on all irrigation systems.