Green Schools Save Districts Money

Education News offers a summary of recent “Local Leaders in Sustainability” report by the American Institute of Architects and the U.S. Green Building Council showing how greening schools is not only eco-friendly but saves districts money!  One example given is school system in Mississippi saving  $23,000 in energy costs in the past year by participating in the Tennessee Valley Authority Green School Initiative (a program called Green Power Switch which produces electricity from renewable sources).

The report explains the benefits of greening schools, explains roles local/state/federal can play to go green, as well as providing ideas and action plans to green schools.Green school improve student health, decrease absenteeism, improve student performances, keep teacher retention, can be used as a teaching tool,  bring community together, save money by using less water and electricity, increase property values, and do not cost more than conventional schools!

One of the best things of the report are the Model Advocate and Profile of a  Green School sections – real world examples of advocates for greening school, such as Mayor Riley of Charleston SC who believes so strongly in this endeavor he promote  a now existing  a one-cent sales tax to support green school construction!  And Profiles of Green Schools like River Crest Elementary School in Hudson, WI –  a green school constructed below the cost of a conventional school!   The end of the report offers suggestion such as connecting with your local USGBC Chapter, creating a green school task force,  hosting a green school summit, creating a green school challenge, hire a green school fellow, create a green energy school policy or green cleaning policy, tour other green schools, and info on lots of groups to check out.

US Book Industry Report Summary

Last March the  The Green Press Initiative (GPI) and The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) produced a 86 page report called ‘Environmental Trends and Climate Impacts: Findings from the U.S. Book Industry. (order it here) Their summary by can be found as a .pdf here.

Eco Libris also produced a great summary of the report with a few key findings:

  • What’s responsible for the biggest part of the book industry’s carbon footprint? First –  forest and forest harvest impacts: 62.7%;  Second – paper production at the mills: 22.4% share. Conclusion – the paper consumed for the production of books is main responsible for the industry’s carbon footprint (12.4 million metric tons or 8.85 lbs. of carbon dioxide per a book, 2006 stats)
  • The sources of paper and Endangered Forests: the sources of paper come from all over the world; several places are endangered forests with too little being done to protect these natural resources from the exploitation of industries and result in tree farms with little biodiversity, fundamental changes and losses in natural systems, severe impact on species, etc.
  • Some increase in the use of post-consumer waste (PCW) recycled paper: About 5% of recycled paper is used in books, with some companies reporting they use much higher percentage now, some up to 13% recycled paper. (data from 2006)
  • More policies, but not enough quantitative targets: 60% report they have developed environmental policies but these policies lack much in the way of quantitative targets.
  • Certified paper use: There is an increase in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper for books but not true data yet available.

Eco Libris also notes some important missing information that could have been useful in the report:

  • there is no mention of e-book industry
  • what about a comparison to European book industry
  • what are the main reasons that stop publishers and other companies to go green