The Importance of Green Schools 

What is a Green School? 

A high-performance green school is an energy-, material- and resource-efficient education facility optimized for the health and productivity of its occupants and users.  It is designed, constructed and operated to the greatest extent possible within the carrying capacity of the planet.  


Why are Green Schools Important?

With utility costs continuing to rise, school budgets are under severe pressure throughout our region. 
Green schools cost less to operate, freeing up resources to truly improve students’ education.  

The quality of educators and curriculum are the most important factors in a student’s scholastic performance, but the quality of school facilities – where students learn – is often overlooked. School buildings can enhance a student’s ability to learn by keeping them healthy, attentive and present.  To learn more about why green schools are important -- click here.

Knowing the Facts About
Green Schools

The Center for Green Schools at USGBC has published a white paper titled Knowing the Facts: Green Schools.  To access this timely document, click here

The Center for Green Schools

Check out this video by the team members of the Center for Green Schools at the USGBC as they explain the multifaceted approach they're taking to bring green schools to all within a generation ... because where we learn matters.  To learn more about the Center, click on the image below.

                     

                                            

What Can You Do at Your 
School District or Campus?

• First of all, create a team of representatives from all groups and departments to brainstorm and discuss green strategies ... and implement curriculum that deals specifically with sustainability.

• Sell your school board and administration on energy-efficiency projects by demonstrating results and using metrics that they can understand such as relating green change to the number of teacher salaries per upgrade.  For example, "We can pay for "x" number of teacher salaries with the savings" is language that school Boards, elected officials and parents can understand.

• Implement sustainable operation and maintenance strategies such as green cleaning and recycling programs. 

• Pay particular attention to upgrades that allow flexibility in the future.

• Take advantage of opportunities to demonstrate and teach students how to live more energy efficiently.  In university and college settings, work with the student life office to get out the green message.  You'll be pleasantly surprised how many of our campuses already have a student green group already in place.  Utilize your biggest, least expensive resource by getting students involved. They may very well have already started green projects.

The Green Apple Day of Service, which will take place on Saturday, September 27, gives parents, teachers, students, companies and local organizations the opportunity to transform schools into healthy, safe and productive learning environments through local service projects. Be sure to check out project ideas, pick up helpful event resources, read about last year's impact, find an event in your area, and register your 2014 project today!

In 2013, the volunteers with the USGBC South Florida Chapter gave great support and energy to this cause. We are proud of our Branches and our Emerging Professionals, whose volunteer captains championed events throughout South Florida, from the Keys up through the Treasure Coast.

Plans are coming together for our Chapter's 2014 Green Apple Day of Service projects. Is your office or community interesting in joining us? Let's have a chat -- contact Lee Cooke or Elena Gibson.  

Below:  Some of our outstanding Green Apple Day of Service participants from _______ Elementary School.

Other Green Schools Websites

Information is power.  And green-building information is, seemingly, everywhere.  Below you will find links to resources to help you learn more about the importance of greening our schools, new and existing.  Many more can be found by searching such key words as high-performance green schools, healthy schools, LEED for Schools, energy-efficient schools, greening K12 curriculum, etc. 

If you wish to add a resource website to this listing, send your suggestion to info@usgbc-fgc.org.  Your submission will be vetted by the Chapter’s volunteer leadership.

The links provided below are shown for reference only.  The USGBC South Florida Chapter is not responsible nor can be held liable for any linked content, claims or representations within the websites listed.

Of course, we start our Green Schools Resources List with the US Green Building Council.  The USGBC provides a wealth of resources and education tied to this critically important subject.  In addition the links provided elsewhere on this webpage, check out:

The Florida Green School Network is a solid resource, and the Green Education Foundation provides free green curriculum, signage, etc., and is a terrific network for educators.

The Environmental Protection Agency has several webpages devoted to elementary-aged children, their parents and teachers:  Environmental Kids Club; Energy Star Kids

The US Department of Energy offers green energy K-12 lesson plans and activities that are downloadable here.  Topics include Energy Basics, Energy Efficiency and Conservation, Environment, Solar Energy and more.

Lastly, the US Department of Energy also has an EnergySmart Schools section of its excellent website.  Also, check out:  Alliance to Save Energy's Green Schools Program and the US Energy Information Administration -- Energy Kids.

 

Leaders in Sustainability Report

The Local Leaders in Sustainability: a special report from Sundance, outlines a national action plan that mayors and local leaders can use as a framework to develop and implement green schools initiatives.  The report also provides a comprehensive review of the benefits of green schools; a summary of local, state and federal policy solutions; leadership profiles of green school advocates; and case studies from both large cities and small communities.  Together, these resources serve as a roadmap on the journey to green schools.