US schools join campaign to go green

A national campaign to encourage schools to improve the environmental performance of their buildings has entered its third year in the US.

The US Green Building Council's National Green Schools campaign aims to help schools become more energy efficient and cut down on the use of water and other finite resources.

The USGBC has now teamed up with 11 environmental and educational groups to establish the Coalition for Green Schools which will promote how greener schools lead to healthier students, lower rates of absenteeism and higher test results - and cost less money to operate.

The green building group is also involved in the Mayors' Alliance for Green Schools, an initiative that sees city mayors promoting sustainable education facilities within their communities.

Software house Adobe Systems has announced it will support the mayoral group and has offered to fund the green renovation and repairs of three schools in Boston, Chicago and San Francisco.

Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC chief executive, said: "There is no more important work we have before us than making sure that every one of our children attends a school where the learning environment works for them, not against them.

"Our National Green Schools Campaign has sought to make this a priority agenda item for school districts, local and state government bodies, and for those who set the national agenda in our schools, who like USGBC, would like to get this done within our generation."

He added that there had been significant progress in the past 12 months, including federal, state and local initiatives that have been passed, including the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public Schools Facilities Act, funding for green school construction and renovation as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the "Making green Schools a Reality" Resolution.

He claimed that USGBC's LEED for Schools green building certification has helped grow the stock of green schools nationwide, and more than one school a day registers with LEED on average.

There are currently more than 185 LEED certified schools and nearly 1,706 more have registered their intent to seek certification.

"However, given that there are some 126,000 schools in America, we clearly have more to do," said Mr Fedrizzi.

"We anticipate that this effort will continue to attract policy makers, parents, student, teachers, and the many groups who see this as a concrete way to care for our children's future, and save taxpayer dollars in improved long-term operations of these facilities."

Sam Bond



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