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11 ways to green school


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“Now with your help, I have a better understanding of why it is important to help and take part in cleaning the Earth.”
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Green Building Program

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The U.S. Department of Energy contends that schools spend over $6 billion nationwide on energy each year, many spending more on energy bills than on total school supplies. According to the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, up to 25 percent of schools’ energy costs can be attributed to poorly designed or outdated systems. Estimates also suggest that achieving this same percentage in energy reduction would save a staggering $1.5 billion. These savings could fund 30,000 new teacher salaries, 40 million textbooks or hundreds of thousands of computers.

In addition, the majority of school buildings nationwide are decades old, and are not constructed with environmental efficiency or the health of occupants in mind. A growing body of research indicates that indoor environmental quality has a pronounced effect on the health and productivity of students, teachers and school staff. Ventilation rates, air pollutants, humidity levels, and temperature ranges, all need to be effectively controlled. The good news is that retrofitting existing buildings is easier than ever.

Program Overview

The GEF Green Building Program educates K-12 students on green building attributes and benefits, and provides them with the strategies to take steps toward improving environmental inefficiencies within their own school building.  Through lessons, audits, and activities students will cover topics including water and energy efficiency and environmental quality as they relate to building construction, operation and maintenance. 

Program participants at the high school level are also encouraged to pursue GEF Institute's Green Building curriculum for the classroom. This is a comprehensive curriculum set that can be customized with up to 8 different units on key green building topics. Educators with all levels of knowledge in sustainability and sustainability teaching methods will find that the fully scripted curricula provide an innovative approach to teaching STEM concepts in context with important sustainability topics.  


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 Program goals include:
  • Educate students and administrators on how their school building consumes energy and water and identify strategies to become more efficient, thereby lowering their schools’ operating costs
  • Understand factors that contribute to indoor and outdoor environmental quality and implement strategies to create a healthier, more productive learning environment for school occupants

The Green Building Program will provide all the educational resources necessary to ensure that students are empowered to be among the key stakeholders shaping their futures.