Center for Green Schools honors leaders in sustainability

The U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools has named the Best of Green Schools for 2011. Institutions and individuals in 10 categories are being recognized for their efforts to create sustainable learning environments in schools and universities.

"The Best Of Green Schools 2011 recipients represent high notes for the green schools movement over the past year and were selected from the thousands of examples of leadership we have seen from schools, districts, campuses, cities and states," says Rachel Gutter, director of the center.

Among those honored was the state of Ohio, which has more green school construction projects than any other state: 315 LEED-registered and LEED-certified projects.

Other recipients:

Moment for the Movement – U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools program, the first comprehensive and coordinated federal initiative to focus on environment, health and education.

Region – Sacramento, Calif., area, where Mayor Kevin Johnson has led the charge to bring together mayors and superintendents to create a $100 million revolving loan fund for green school retrofits.

City – Philadelphia; the school district made significant steps in 2011 toward the greening of the city’s 291 public schools.

School – Lake Mills Middle School in Lake Mills, Wis., which in March 2011 became the first public school in the nation to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

Higher Ed Innovator – University of Texas at Dallas; its LEED-platinum Student Services Building was the recipient of this year’s Innovation in Green Building Award. The facility was designed to improve departmental efficiency and interaction and includes terra-cotta shades on the building’s exterior to provide a unique energy efficient shading strategy.

Collaborators – Kentucky State Representatives Jim DeCesare and Mary Lou Marzian, who have led the state’s green school efforts. They have worked with their colleagues in the Kentucky General Assembly to pass resolutions in support of green schools, and have encouraged other states to work across party lines on similar efforts.

Convener – Boston: In September 2011, Mayor Menino hosted the Research Summit on Childhood Health and School Buildings, which brought together interdisciplinary researchers to explore the connection between school facilities and student health. The Boston school district is also home to one of the first Center for Green Schools Fellows – a sustainability coordinator who will work within the school district for three years to advance sustainability initiatives.

Policy makers – District of Columbia City Council: In May 2010, the Washington, D.C. council unanimously passed the Healthy Schools Act of 2010, building upon the District’s existing LEED-silver requirement and encouraging schools to achieve LEED-gold certification. In 2011, the council updated the bill to include participation in the Green Ribbon Schools program.

K-12 Innovation – Public-Private partnership in Illinois: A report outlining a plan to green all K-12 schools in Illinois was released in March 2011 as a result of a public-private partnership commissioned by the Illinois’ General Assembly in October 2009.

For more information on the Best of Green Schools 2011, click here.


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