For today's schools and universities, the incorporation of green/sustainable concepts in the design, construction, maintenance and operation of facilities is becoming almost as commonplace as the teaching of reading, writing and arithmetic to the lexicon of education.
Students, staff and administrators have embraced sustainable, energy-efficient, healthful practices at their schools. From something as simple as posting signage reminding occupants to turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms, to the creation of green-cleaning programs, to the construction of new or newly renovated high-performance buildings, signs of sustainability are becoming entrenched in all facets of education.
One area that continues to see growth in the adoption of green is education construction. According to the latest data from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), there currently are 2,131 total LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) registered and certified schools (1,742 LEED-registered and 389 LEED-certified schools). Among the states that lead in the number of LEED registered and certified education projects:
- Ohio: 294
- California: 169
- Pennsylvania: 132
- Texas: 104
- Florida: 101
- Illinois: 100
- Virginia: 87
- Maryland: 84
- New York: 73
- New Mexico: 61
This month's cover story looks at schools and universities that are pushing the envelope in creating and operating green, sustainable, high-performance facilities. Education institutions have been early leaders in the green/sustainability movement. What first started as a fringe practice at select institutions has morphed into almost universal acceptance at schools and universities nationwide.
The adoption of green/sustainable concepts in the design, construction, maintenance and operation of education institutions will continue to grow — especially as the health and environmental benefits become even more evident, long-term operational and energy savings increase, and new technologies drive initial costs lower.
Agron is editor-in-chief for AS&U.