apple.jpgThe idea that schools can’t be green is just so…old school. Across the country districts, including the large Houston system, are building or promising to build schools to national green standards. Now, the U.S. Green Building Council, which sets those LEED standards, has launched a green schools initiative to help parents and community leaders steer their city, town or state toward building LEED schools. The website includes a Power Point presentation you can use to push this issue, a locator tool for hooking up with green school advocacy teams in your region and a facts sheet about green schools.
The website counters critics who say green schools are too expensive to build. The USGBC concedes that schools built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards cost more initially, but maintains they make up for their higher costs within a year through lower energy bills. After that, the savings pile up: “Green schools on average save $100,000 per year — enough to hire two new teachers, buy 500 new computers, or purchase 5,000 new textbooks,’’ the USGBC reports.
Few argue that green schools are bad for kids. Experts have shown that the buildings’ enhanced natural lighting and lower toxicity can boost moods and attention spans. Hey, good for teachers too. So out with dark hallways, off-gassing floors and stuffy classrooms. Bring in the sunlight. Now if we could just get rid of homework!

Barbara Kessler