We can do better...
Approximately 20 percent of our national population — 60 million people — go to school every day as students, teachers, staff or administrators.
By promoting the design and construction of new green schools and by greening existing schools, we can all make a tremendous impact on improving student performance and health, while decreasing operational costs and protecting the environment.
Green schools are more than buildings. They are places where children learn the wonders of the world and teachers prepare the next generation of leaders and citizens. These schools are built and operated to be full of clean air and sunlight and to be free of toxic materials and harmful chemicals.
Green schools are energy efficient, helping to lower utility costs and reduce waste. They conserve resources and preserve surrounding habitats. Green schools showcase a community's commitment to its children and their future, who, in turn, learn from an early age the importance and benefits of acting as responsible stewards of their communities and the larger world.
Green schools do not have to be new schools.
There are approximately 133,000 schools across the country. As the economy forces school districts to slow or even halt capital improvement plans, many are focusing on what can be done to improve the efficiency and environmental quality of existing facilities. As with new green construction, implementing green strategies into existing school buildings can be cost effective. Setting policies that reduce waste, increase use of public transportation, and encourage the purchase of environmentally-preferable products are a few simple ways that schools are greening their everyday operations. Schools can also develop a plan to introduce and upgrade new building systems, technologies and policies over time, focusing first on high-impact strategies that yield immediate savings or have significant impact on student health and wellness.