Thursday, 24 February 2011

Green School

Green School Census
Although green schools are proliferating, determining the exact number depends on how you define green. An orthodox interpretation would suggest that a truly green school involves both green building certification and a sustainable curriculum.
Green building is a strong and growing trend, according to green building industry leader Jerry Yudelson, green building has continued to grow worldwide, even through the recession. The estimated value of green building construction has grown to $60 billion in 2010.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is a non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable building design and construction and LEED certification. An inclusive approach to assessing the number of green schools involves counting those schools that have made a public commitment to incorporating sustainability into their educational programs and operations.
Conservingenergy and instituting environmental programs has become an important issue in schools across the country. Many states are now requiring schools to adhere to environmental conservation guidelines, while some states, such as Michigan, have adopted "Green School Certification" programs. These Michigan "Green schools" benefit by becoming showcase schools in their community, and by receiving credits and other incentives from the state, as well as private and public organizations.
Increasing student's environmental awareness can be the most rewarding benefit of becoming a "Green School". Engaging students in a school's "Green" efforts means teachers, the school principal, and the parent organization (PTA, PTO, etc) need to come up with programs, projects and activities that are grade-level appropriate and can help children understand what role they have in their new "Green School" and why conservation is important.
A pep rally assembly to announce the school wide conservation allows schools to get students excited about the programs, as well and have an opportunity to explain why they are an important part in becoming a "Green School".
A goal chart / goal "thermometer" prominently displayed in the school lobby or cafeteria offers a daily reminder for kids to be continually "thinking green".
In the end, everyone wins when students "think green", including students, the community, the school, and, of course, the Earth.
Almost one quarter of America goes to school every day. Fortunately now, both public and private schools are realizing that going green is a no-brainer.
By promoting the greening of all schools, not only can we make a tremendous impact on the environment but we can also improve teacher retention, student health, and test scores while reducing school operational costs. Green schools are healthy for kids and conducive to their education. Four key areas that these schools focus on include daylight, indoor air quality, acoustics and thermal comfort. Green schools encourage daylight and outside views since studies show that daylight improves student performance. It also keeps teachers healthy and happy and that reduces teacher absenteeism and teacher turnover which amounts to huge savings over the lifetime of a school.
Green schools also strive for better indoor air quality because we know that improves health. Building green means better acoustics because it improves learning potential and poor acoustics have been shown to negatively impact both the teacher and the student. Our nations' students and teachers deserve healthy and effective spaces for learning and teaching. You can make a difference by letting elected officials know our schools should be built, operated, and maintained green.


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