Green is at the head of the class at most education institutions. But while the discussion of green remains a hot topic, are schools and universities actually making the commitment to sustainability in the design, construction, maintenance and operations of their facilities?
As part of a recent American School & University purchasing study, a number of questions were asked to better identify what education administrators are doing in regard to buying green.
When asked how important green was in the selection and purchasing of products and services, administrators responded that green/environmentally friendly products are important when making purchasing decisions. Nearly half of college respondents (45 percent) rate green/sustainable products extremely or very important, compared with 36 percent of school districts. The majority of education institutions say purchasing decisions are somewhat influenced by how green products and services are.
A number of reasons were cited as to why the move to green was not more pronounced. Among them:
“Affordability plays the largest role — many green items are still too expensive.”
“Green products are too pricey; they need to get more competitive with ‘non-green’ prices.”
“Payback (of green products) isn't proven.”
“(Green products) may be environmentally friendly, but most don't work as well as the old stuff.”
While green continues to become more important in school and university purchasing decisions, the most often considered criteria are overall quality of the product/service, compatibility with existing equipment, and meeting bid specifications.
The purchasing and use of green products by schools and universities is poised to grow. School districts are split evenly between planning to increase the use of environmentally friendly products (44 percent) and considering increasing their use (43 percent). Colleges and universities are solidly behind increasing the use of green products, with two-thirds (67 percent) indicating they have made the commitment to green.
Calling all Kermit groupies!
Let's face it, people have no excuse for not knowing what it means to think and act green. Ask anyone, and he or she is probably already doing something to protect the environment or has plans to do so. Schools are no exception.
But let's say, for the sake of argument, that you are not one of those people. We are here to help you with a wealth of resources found in AS&U and on www.asumag.com:
The green cleaning microsite.
High-performance and green special sections from the magazine.
Green School & University e-newsletter.
The Green Cleaning column.
Maybe you are tired of talking about green as if it is a new concept: you've been environmentally responsible for years, and you've been waiting for others to get on the bandwagon.
If so, let us know! Enter yourself, your institution or your partners in our Green Cleaning Award Program at asumag.com/green_cleaning_award.
— Susan Lustig
*Susan, if you haven't done a Web 101 yet, please consider informing readers how they can get info on Green at asumag (via our Green microsite, green supps on the site, subscribing to GS&U enewsletter, green cleaning column on site, and entering the Green Cleaning Award on the site (we'll take late entries).