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.
Do you bring a lunch? Bringing your own lunch is both economical, greener (if you bring a reusable container!), and usually healthier! Treehugger has some fabulously fun suggestions for packing a lunch – well – for kids but I would like some of these as an adult. Check out their slideshow of ideas like this one from Goodbyn or this Tiffin set from To-Go ware… or the cute Snack Taxi:
With school year beginning, here are some great resources, websites, and groups for your school, kids, teachers, and librarians to use and promote:
Online Degree Programs has a great blog post called: Teaching Green: 100 Tips, Tools & Resources for Every Kind of Classroom. They offer lists of online resources by category and here are some examples:
Tell your students to submit an entry to the 2010 American’s Greenest School Contest. The entry can be in the form of a photo collection, music, a video, an essay, or photos of a diorama, collage or piece of artwork explaining what you’d do if you were in charge of making your school a greener, more eco-friendly place. All K-12 students in public or private school can apply. You can win the clean, green IC Bus™ Hybrid Bus, LEED Certified Audit and Green Makeover for your school, free concert by The Maine, the official band of America’s Greenest School, $3,000 scholarship for the winning student and/or classroom, $500 in class supplies for the winning teacher/sponsor. They will choose top 10 finalist and then everyone, all of america can vote on the winner. March 8th is deadline.
Equal Exchange, worker owned co-op, offers fairly traded products such as coffee, tea and snacks you can often find in your local stores. They also offer a fundraising program for public and private schools and organizations! Watch this video for more details:
The District Administration Magazine has a Sustainable Schools Special Section available online with some great articles: