secure solar power with no up-front investment.
reen Schools National Network (GSNN).
The mission of this nonprofit GSNN is to “pro- vide K- 12 teachers, administrators, leaders, and professionals with evi- dence-based resources and tools to maximize financial and natural re- sources; improve the health and well- being of staff and students; and pre- pare students with the knowledge and skills for a sustainable future.”
More school districts are providing hybrid and all-electric vehicles for staff, as well as free charging stations for staff, students, and visitors.
An “innovation zone” anchors the 23,000-square-foot Milan Center for Innovative Stud- ies (MCIS) at Milan High School in Michigan. Reportedly, area employers were complaining about graduates’ limited critical thinking capabilities. MCIS is a laboratory for projects that require reflection, teamwork, commu- nication, organization, time manage- ment, accountability, and ethics.
Architectural design, land- scape planning, security systems, and visual surveillance have increased safety and security at Joplin High School, Joplin, Mo.; Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown, Conn.; and Mount Si High School, Snoqualmie, Wash. Electrical/electronic solutions include cameras, a public-address sys- tem with color-cued lights, and auto- matic locks and alarms on doors.
The 100,000-square-foot Wilson Elementary School in West Allegheny, Pa., installed skylights, photosensor-controlled LEDs, and new exterior windows, while updating the electrical sys- tem. Electricity usage dropped from 1. 5 million k Wh in 2013 to 740,000 k Wh in 2015.
On average, the nation’s 3,000 LEED-certified pre-K- 12 schools use 33% less energy and 32% less water than their conventional counterparts—and save $100,000 a year on operations.
erged and multipurpose.
The Austin Independent School District’s new LEED-certified Performing Arts Center serves 84,000 students in 130 schools and contains a 1,200-seat auditorium, a 4,690- square-foot dance studio, a 250-seat black box theater, a 100-seat multi- purpose room, a recording studio, outdoor performance spaces, a kiln room, offices, and a 400-car park- ing garage. Additionally, many pub- lic schools are available during non- school hours for community use (e.g., meetings, recreation).
ational Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF).
NEEF was established by President George H. W. Bush to advance environmental literacy through science-based programs. NEEF sponsors the Business Sus- tainability Educational Roundtable (Kimberly-Clark, Johnson & John- son, and Intel are members), which helps companies improve profita- bility by aligning corporate sustain- ability goals with employee educa- tion, engagement, and day-to-day operations.
pen learning environment.
Not only are the physical learn- ing spaces in K- 12 schools open and reconfigurable, but also the cur- ricula are responsive to changing needs in the community and students’ evolving interests (e.g., building solar- powered vehicles).
ower purchase agreement (PPA).
Through a PPA with SunPower, the Colton Joint Unified School District in San Ber- nardino County, Calif., is installing carport solar systems at 28 schools to meet 73% of its power needs and save more than $35 million over 25 years.
Building owners and operators optimize building performance through sustainable design and building commissioning, which verifies that building components (e.g., building envelope) and systems (e.g., electri- cal, lighting, fire/life safety, secur- ity, HVAC, plumbing) perform as expected.
The U.S. Department of Education recognizes Green Ribbon Schools that reduce envi- ronmental impacts and costs (e.g., including energy use, water, waste, and alternative transportation), improve the health and wellness of students and staff, and provide sus- tainability education.
The most uni- versal definition of sustainability was created in 1987: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present with- out compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Formulated by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, it was established to foster greater international interde- pendence in forging a sustainable development path.
unable LED lighting.
Com- posed of LEDs and flexible controls, tunable LED lighting enables teachers to dim and adjust the color temperature of lighting to accommodate students’ changing needs (e.g., cooler for intense tasks like test-taking, warmer to calm stu- dents after recess). Cheshire Public Schools in Connecticut installed a sophisticated tunable lighting system, reducing its lighting expense by 82%.
In some communi- ties, utility rebates are avail- able to bring the cost of energy- efficiency projects and renewable energy installations within reach of school districts.
olatile organic compounds.
Many manufacturers have been legally compelled or persuaded through market forces to reduce or eliminate VOCs from their products. VOCs compromise indoor air quality and students’ ability to learn.
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