New US scheme launched to make case for green schools

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) unveiled its new Centre for Green Schools last week, in the nation's capital Washington DC.

USGBC, a non-profit group of business leaders and innovators, claim the new facility will serve as "the centre of dialogue, policy development and innovation" for green schools, and represents a significant step towards achieving USGBC's goal of ensuring every US student studies in an environmentally sustainable building within this generation.

It is an ambitious goal if current estimates are accurate - showing some 140,000 schools, colleges and universities across the country's 50 States - but a goal which USGBC's president Rick Fedrizzi believes can be met.

Speaking at the Centre for Green School's unveiling, Mr Fedrizzi said: "At USGBC, we understand the profound impact green buildings have on our lives and the innovation they have poured into the marketplace, and we believe no other market speaks more powerfully to the benefits and potential of green buildings than our schools.

"The Centre for Green Schools is engaging educators in creating sustainable learning environments for their students and applying solid research to inform leadership - from school boards to college presidents - about the benefits of healthy, high-performing schools."

Much of the scheme's funding has been secured through a multi-year multimillion-dollar contract with United Technologies Corporation (UTC). With that level of backing, the Centre is projected to lead hundreds of schools across the US to becoming greener and more energy efficient over the coming years.

Among the measures the Centre quantifies as an aspect of a greener school, are buildings which provide fresh, clean air to improve health; additional daylight to boost concentration, comfortable temperatures that increase focus and improved acoustics to enable better communication.

Green schools also use less water and energy, making them less expensive to operate.

The Centre's director, Rachel Gutter, added that the Centre would aim to "equip" innovators to make the case for a global rethink of how schools are built.

She said: "We see an opportunity to educate a new generation of leaders we call sustainability natives, who are capable of driving global market transformation toward green schools.

"Our job is to equip the people who make the case, the people who make the decisions and the people who get things done by elevating and accelerating important conversations and providing the tools and resources to help make transformation possible. We believe every child in America and throughout the world should have access to an environment that greatly improves their learning experience."

Sam Plester


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