At the Forefront

Education institutions are at the forefront — proving they are innovative thought leaders in the design, construction, management and operations of their facilities, especially in regard to creating green, sustainable, energy-efficient learning environments.

Many of the nation's schools and universities are making bold statements in their commitment to sustainable, green buildings — including embracing such technologies and concepts as solar, wind, geothermal, green cleaning and more.

And it's not just certain schools or universities in specific geographic areas that are leading the way. Public school districts, private schools and higher-education institutions across the nation are taking the lead in creating sustainable, high-performance facilities:

  • Schools and universities in Oregon, New Jersey, California, Colorado and Arizona are among the many education institutions installing solar panels on their facilities to help energize their schools.

  • Three Chicago school districts have formed a joint venture to build a wind farm to supplement future energy needs.

  • A New Hampshire district is building a biomass plant that will heat its middle and high schools.

  • New York recently announced the availability of funding to improve energy efficiency at the state's school districts, colleges and universities for, among other things, implementing technologies such as biomass boilers, solar panels and wind turbines.

  • Almost 700 higher-education institutions have signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment, which strives to reduce greenhouse gases and achieve climate neutrality.

What steps have you and your institution taken to create sustainable, healthful, energy-efficient learning environments? There are many resources that can help you determine your institution's plan toward a more sustainable future, including USGBC, CHPS, NCEF, HSC, APPA and AASHE — all of which are industry sponsors of AS&U's upcoming GREEN School & University Virtual Conference & Expo.

Going green is not a matter of "if" for the nation's education institutions. It is a matter of "when."

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