The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Waste Management and Research Center have established the “Greening Schools” project to help schools in the state improve their physical environmental conditions and provide teachers with tools to instruct students about waste reduction and pollution prevention.
The project is offering various services to school districts, such as free on-site technical assistance to assess building conditions; an online help desk; workshops for teachers, administrators and other staff; information on environmentally preferable purchasing; and other resources, such as fact sheets, checklists, and lesson plans, curricula and activities related to waste reduction and pollution prevention.
The Illinois EPA also has a grant program to support environmental improvement projects and activities at K-12 schools. The grants will enable schools to purchase products or equipment that will improve indoor environmental conditions, reduce waste and enhance energy efficiency. Grants generally range from $500 to $2,500.
Learn more about the project at www.greeningschools.org.
EPA SALUTES COLORADO DISTRICT
Colorado Springs (Colo.) School District 11 was recognized at an awards ceremony in March as one of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Energy Star Partners of the Year.
The EPA gives the awards annually to recognize organizations that pursue energy efficiency in their facility operations. The district was honored for sustaining smart energy management practices and investments throughout its operations.
The district's energy manager, Thomas Fernandez, says the award “sends a very clear message to the community that District 11 is making every possible effort to reduce energy consumption.” Since 1999, when the district became an Energy Star partner, conservation efforts have enabled it to save $4.1 million in energy costs.
A GREEN FUTURE
The Philadelphia school district and Microsoft Corp. have teamed up to build “The School of the Future.”
Microsoft says the school “will be the first school of its kind designed to be a sustainable and replicable model for improved instructional development through the use of technology.” The $50 million, 750-student facility is expected to open in 2006.
The building itself is being developed in accordance with the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. The school will use natural lighting, and emphasize water conservation and recycling. Cabinets will be made from trees that were cleared from the site to allow construction. Photoelectric glass not only will generate a portion of the building's power supply, but also will transmit real-time data for students so they can see how much energy is being generated.
More information is at www.microsoft.com/education/schooloffuture.aspx.
EIGHT WAYS TO GREEN
The King County, Wash., Green Schools Program identifies eight categories in which schools can make improvements that conserve resources and reduce energy consumption:
- Waste Reduction & Recycling
- Environmental Purchasing
- Litter Reduction
- Hazardous Materials Management & Reduction
- Water Conservation
- Energy Conservation
- Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Environmental Issues in the Classroom