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                                      GEF offers free K-12 sustainability education
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American Standard sponsors development of GEF’s K-12 green building educational materials

March 22, 2011 — Green Education Foundation (GEF) has announced the launch of its Green Building Program, a K-12 curriculum where students use their school as a teaching tool to learn first-hand about green building attributes and benefits. The program provides students with the educational resources necessary to understand, identify, and improve environmental inefficiencies within their own school buildings.

GEF’s Green Building Course and accompanying audit are aligned with U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) guidelines for what constitutes green building construction according to their LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. GEF was the K-12 sector partner for USGBC 2010 Greenbuild.

American Standard has joined GEF to provide the educational resources necessary to ensure that students are empowered to be among the key stakeholders shaping their futures. The plumbing fixture company launched its Responsible Bathroom website to educate its clients on water efficiency by providing water-saving facts and statistics to encourage environmentally-friendly behaviors, and has generously donated $300,000 to GEF to develop its Green Building Program. The funding, in part, will assist GEF in developing engaging, hands-on K-12 curriculum around water saving best practices and strategies for use at school and home.

“We are delighted to partner with American Standard in educating kids and school faculty on the resounding benefits associated with reducing water consumption as well as introducing schools and families to water-saving strategies and technologies,” noted Victoria Waters, GEF President and CEO. “This program also provides a perfect opportunity to shed light on the growing and critical water shortage affecting so many regions across the US and the rest of the world.”

The Green Building Program offers both a K-8 10-hour curriculum called School as a Teaching Tool and one semester environmental science elective Green Building Course for high school students. The School as a Teaching Tool curriculum explores the relationship between a school’s built environment, human ecology and the environment. The high school course provides students with opportunities to learn about a variety of sustainability topics, including sustainable sites, water and energy efficiency and environmental quality as they relate to building construction, operation and maintenance. The capstone project features a comprehensive report with student recommendations for building improvements based upon the results of their semester long school-wide audit. Students prioritize areas for enhanced efficiencies and recommend improvements based upon the greatest need, ROI and feasibility. The objective is to teach sustainable practices to students, school administrators, their families and communities.

“The goals of GEF align well with our education efforts to advance water efficiency measures in homes and in the workplace," said Don Devine, President and CEO of American Standard Brands, citing the company’s broad selection of EPA WaterSense®-certified toilets and faucets, the Responsible Bathroom Tour that showcases these products in use, and the water savings tools and information found on the company’s website www.americanstandard.com. “Providing schools with the tools to educate kids on how we can be better stewards of our natural resources without sacrificing performance and hygiene is a win for everyone. American Standard is proud to be part of this worthwhile initiative."

Goals of the Green Building Program include:
  • Educating students and administrators on how to reduce energy and water usage thereby lowering schools’ operating costs
  • Improving indoor and outdoor environmental quality 
  • Providing a healthier, more productive learning environment for school occupants

GEF is actively seeking pilot schools to participate in its Green Building Program. Schools and classes interested in piloting its K-8 School as a Teaching Tool curriculum and high school Green Building Course (pilot start date is Sept. 2011) contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . To learn more, visit www.greenbuildingprogram.org

Sustainability Education (SE) Defined
Sustainability education (SE) is an integrative teaching model that connects student knowledge of environmental, economic, and social systems with real-world applied learning strategies. SE develops the 21st century skills, vision, and intellectual perspective essential to building a sustainable future.

GEF Sustainability Education Global Advisory Committee
The Global Advisory Committee bolsters collaboration between academic experts across disciplinary and geographic borders, committed to making the study and practice of sustainability a more integral and prominent part of student curriculum and teacher education. The goal is to provide teachers with the knowledge, skills and curricular resources essential to integrate sustainability into existing disciplines.

Members include:
  • Rosalyn McKeown is Secretariat of the UNESCO Chair on Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability, the United Nations Chair on Education for Sustainable Development, and Director of the Center for Geography and Environmental Education at the University of Tennessee. Dr. McKeown also developed the Education for Sustainable Development online toolkit, Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future.
  • Gary Yohe is the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University, a Senior Member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and thus co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. 
  • Linda Jones is Associate Professor of the School of Teaching and Learning at the University of Florida, Director of the University of Florida Environmental Education and Communication Graduate Certificate program, and recipient of UFL’s International Center Distinguished International Educator Award. 
  • Carolee Buckler serves as Sustainable Development Coordinator of Manitoba Education, Canada, and member EcoCanada’s Steering Committee for Environmental Labour Market Information. In 2009, she helped create the Sustainability Leadership Innovation Center at the International Institute for Sustainable Development. 
  • Gilda Wheeler is Sustainability Coordinator at Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and in 2009 led the charge to develop the state’s first Environmental and Sustainability student learning standards and professional development teaching standards for colleges of education.

About Green Education Foundation (GEF)
Green Education Foundation (GEF), a non-profit organization, is committed to creating a sustainable future through education. GEF provides curriculum and resources to K-12 students and teachers worldwide with the goal of challenging youth to think holistically and critically about global environmental concerns and solutions. GEF’s National Green Week mobilizes millions of students each year to participate in eco-challenges that empower school communities to achieve measurable and sustainable goals in waste reduction and energy conservation. For more information visit: www.greeneducationfoundation.org.

About American Standard Brands
American Standard Brands is a leading North American manufacturer of a wide range of high-quality building products, including faucets, fixtures, furniture, vitreous china fixtures, cast iron sinks, whirlpool tubs and other wellness products for the bath and kitchen as well as decorative panels. The company currently offers total project solutions for residential and commercial customers; employs more than 5,000 people in the United States, Canada and Mexico; and markets products under well known and respected brands, such as American Standard®, Jado®, Porcher®, Safety Tubs®, Crane®, Eljer®, Fiat® and Decorative Panels International®. American Standard Brands is an affiliated portfolio company of Sun Capital Partners. For more information, visit www.americanstandard.com.

Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Download, share, and comment on hundreds of sustainability lessons in GEF's K-12 lesson clearinghouse! Find the right lesson, activity or audit for your students by searching by grade level and subject area. Access is unlimited and free to GEF members!

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Visit GEF Institute's website to find online, sustainability-focused professional development courses. Earn a certificate or simply take a course for academic or professional development credits through the Institute's partnering university.

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

Mahatma Gandhi