U.S. mayors urge support for green schools

The U.S. Council of Mayors has adopted a resolution that calls for every child in the nation to be attending a green school within a generation. The council “urges Congress to support federal authorization and funding of K-12 green school demonstration projects…as well as commit additional research funding to evaluate, understand and enhance the environmental, economic and health benefits of green schools.”


The entire resolution:

SUPPORTING AND PROMOTING GREEN SCHOOLS
WHEREAS, more than 55 million students and more than 5
million faculty, staff, and administrators spend their days
in school buildings; and

WHEREAS, schools represent the largest construction sector
in the United States -- $80 billion in 2006 – 2008 – which
means that greening school buildings is a significant
opportunity to have a major impact on human, environmental,
and economic health; and

WHEREAS, green schools using the LEED (Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design) green building rating system use
an average of 35 percent less energy compared to
conventional schools and produce a commensurate reduction
in greenhouse gas emissions, making green schools an
important part of the solution to global warming; and

WHEREAS, children in green schools are healthier and more
productive because green schools emphasize excellence in
areas of daylighting, acoustics, and classroom design – all
of which have a profound impact on children’s ability to
learn; and

WHEREAS, green schools have superior indoor air quality and
thermal comfort, significantly reducing children exposure
to chemicals and environmental toxins; and

WHEREAS, the benefit of cleaner indoor air quality – a key
emphasis of green schools – have been linked to lower
asthma rates, fewer allergies, reduced absenteeism, and
increased teacher retention rates; and

WHEREAS, green schools cost less to operate and greatly
reduce water and energy use, which generate significant
financial savings; and

WHEREAS, if all new school construction and school
renovations went green starting today, energy savings alone
would total $20 billion over the next 10 years, according
to a recent study by Capital E, and on average, according
to the same study, a green school saves $100,000 per year —
- enough to hire two new teachers, buy 500 new computers,
or purchase 5,000 new textbooks; and

WHEREAS, the modest increase in upfront costs to build
green schools –- on average 2 percent – is paid back in the first year of operations based on energy savings alone; and

WHEREAS, green schools provide a learning experience that
transcends the classroom by creating an exhibit of learning
where the building becomes an eco-friendly education
catalyst and maximizes educational opportunities for
generations to come.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States
Conference of Mayors endorses that in a generation every
child in America will attend a green school as the
necessary and appropriate goal of our nation –- and the
long-term target toward which our individual communities
also should arrive.

IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of
Mayors urges Congress to support federal authorization and
funding of K-12 green school demonstration projects
throughout the country as well as commit additional
research funding to evaluate, understand and enhance the
environmental economic and health benefits of green
schools.

(http://www.usmayors.org/75thAnnualMeeting/resolutions_full.pdf)

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