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High Performance Green Schools: Improving Education and Creating a Clean Energy Future

April 30th, 2009 · No Comments

Quite simply, Greening Schools is perhaps one of the clearest ‘no brainer’ no regrets strategies that we should be pursuing aggressively. I cannot think of another opportunity to boost educational performance while cutting costs and improving the health of our children and communities while also helping turn the tide on Global Warming.

Today, on Capital Hill, the Envronmental and Energy Institute (EESI) will be hosting a session “High Performance Green Schools: Improving Education and Creating a Clean Energy Future”. (2-3:30 pm, 253 Russell Senate Office Building). If you are unable to make it, EESI will have it available to watch online next week. Announcement after the fold.

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing to learn how funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) may be used to improve the learning environment for students and teachers, save energy, reduce operating expenses, protect the environment, and strengthen communities. This briefing will describe what makes a school “high performance” and green–from superior indoor air quality to water efficiency–and how setting priorities early can allow school districts to reap the most benefits within their standard construction budget. Speakers also will discuss the importance of using green building features to teach students about science and sustainability. Finally, of interest to all Congressional offices, the panel will shed light on ARRA and other funding sources for school facilities and explain how communities can use them to maximum advantage.

Speakers for this event include:

* Gary Bailey, AIA, Innovative Design; Board Member, Sustainable Buildings Industry Council
* Sue Robertson, REFP, President, Council of Educational Facility Planners International
* C.H. (“Sonny”) Savoie, President, National School Boards Association
* Charles J. Saylors, President-elect, National Parent Teacher Association
* Blanche Sheinkopf, National Education Director, PartnersGREEN; former National Coordinator, U.S. Department of Energy’s EnergySmart Schools Program

One of the first studies to confirm a relationship between a school’s physical condition and student performance was a 1999 study conducted by the Heschong Mahone Group, which concluded that students with the best daylighting in their classrooms progressed 20 percent faster on math tests and 26 percent faster on reading tests than those with the worst daylighting. Effective daylighting strategies also reduced both lighting and cooling loads, saving energy and thousands of dollars per year for school systems. In national efforts to improve public education and health, create jobs, and power our future with renewable energy, high performance green schools are widely seen as a logical place to start.

Section 14003 of ARRA created a State Fiscal Stabilization Fund in the Department of Education that includes $8.8 billion that may be used for the “modernization, renovation, or repair of public school facilities, including modernization, renovation, and repairs that are consistent with a recognized green building rating system.” In addition, the Department of Energy’s $3.2 billion Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program and the $3.1 billion State Energy Program allow states, cities, counties, and tribes to allocate grants for energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in public buildings, including public and private non-profit schools.

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Tags: Energy