From Green Right Now Reports

Ring the bell and clear the board. It’s officially time to enroll American schools in an advanced green building course.

The U.S. Green Building Council today announced a new project, The Center for Green Schools at USGBC, which will raise the bar in the education sector. It aims to “give everyone an opportunity to attend a green school within this generation.” By that, the USGBC means it hopes that all kids will get a shot at attending a green school — a place that’s likely to have more daylight, fewer toxic chemicals and run on cleaner energy.

“At USGBC, we understand the profound impact green buildings have on our lives and the innovation they have poured into the marketplace, and we believe no other market speaks more powerfully to the benefits and potential of green buildings than our schools,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair of USGBC.

To help drive the movement, the new center, a think tank of sorts, will bring together pertinent experts and groups to clear the way forward.

“We see an opportunity to educate a new generation of leaders we call sustainability natives, who are capable of driving global market transformation toward green schools,” said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools. “Our job is to equip the people who make the case, the people who make the decisions and the people who get things done by elevating and accelerating important conversations with district and campus stakeholders and providing the tools and resources to help make transformation possible.

“We believe every child in America and throughout the world should have access to an environment that greatly improves their learning experience.”

United Technologies Corp. is funding the Center for Green Schools, pledging undisclosed millions to help lead “hundreds of schools” toward greener and more energy efficient practices, and ultimately to LEED certification through the U.S. Green Building Council.

The commitment dovetails with UTC’s businesses, which support green design, and it “will have the added benefit of educating our next generation of leaders about the benefits of sustainable building design,” said Sandy Diehl, UTC vice president, Integrated Building Solutions.

Hartford, Conn.-based UTC provides the building and aerospace industries with high tech products. For buildings, UTC provides Carrier heating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems.

The new Center for Green Schools will continue to work with USGBC partners to upgrade all levels and types of schools. Those partners include:  the U.S. Congress and the 50 for 50 Initiative with state legislatures; the Mayors’ Alliance for Green Schools and the Coalition for Green Schools, whose member organizations include the National PTA, National School Boards Association, National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers.

Green schools are an important part of an “environmentally literate and sustainable society,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a news release.

“These schools not only are good for the environment, they provide a better learning environment for students—and they are cost efficient.”