Green Schools

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Global Green has such terrific content. Check out these great ideas of how you can start greening your school… and your life and workplace and world too!

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP GREEN YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL

UPDATE THE LIGHTS
Swap out old, inefficient incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs, saving you time buying and replacing bulbs, and an average of $30 or more in energy costs over the life of each bulb. Every CFL can prevent more than 450 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. Every bit helps to reduce the risks of global climate change. Many local utility companies have free or reduced-cost exchange programs.

PLANT AN ORGANIC EDIBLE GARDEN
Organize school garden projects that engage students, teach about nutrition, and produce some food for their consumption (like they have at the White House). Create a school-wide composting program of cafeteria and food scraps. Composting provides a way not only of reducing the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of, but also of converting it into a product that is useful for gardening, landscaping, or house plants. Through basic and worm composting programs, students can learn about ecology, biology, and waste reduction.

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
Create a school recycling program. Recycle everything that cannot be reused; and encourage the purchase of items that can be recycled. A successful and meaningful recycling program must involve the whole campus — there is no teaching tool like the daily, hands-on practice of recycling everything that cannot be reused. By recycling just one glass bottle, you save enough electricity to power a 100-watt bulb for four hours.

CONDUCT A CLASSROOM ENERGY AUDIT
You don’t have get too technical to teach students about energy use; you can simply take stock of where and how you’re using energy, by assessing where in the classroom energy is going (and being wasted). A simple energy audit can help out. How many lights are on? Is there heat or A/C? Do the computers get left on at night? Determine where you can cut back, then create a checklist kids can follow every day. You can help raise awareness by adjusting computer monitor settings, turning the lights off before recess, have a “lights-off” hour once per week, and so on.

EDUCATE STUDENTS, TEACHERS & PARENTS ON ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR
There are many ways that green schools initiatives can support your school’s curriculum, with key tie-ins to science, math, social studies, and economics. Establish a strong link between energy and the environment. Protection of the environment is a strong motivator. Help students and adults understand that more than 80% of pollution results from the production, consumption, and disposal of energy — and that actions they take really do make a difference.

BE PUBLIC
Create an educational display for your school on energy, efficiency, and/or environment. Track monthly energy savings or classroom behavior changes, and post them in a common area at school. Broadcast reminders over the school PA system each day to students, faculty, and staff, reminding them to turn off all unused equipment. Use the school¹s electronic marquee to display messages of conservation to the public. Have students attend PTA meetings to discuss the school’s energy conservation efforts.

REPLICATE YOUR EFFORTS AT HOME
Have students complete a walk-through energy audit of their homes. Make a list of energy problems in the home and suggest solutions, which students can bring home to their families. By modeling and discussing ways to save energy at home and at school, you can spread the energy-efficiency message to families and the community. Include practical and convenient energy saving tips in your school’s monthly newsletter as well.

SUPPORT GREEN CLEANING
Demand from school administrators and district personnel the right to know about environmental health issues such as pesticides, commercial cleaning products, lead, mold, indoor air quality (especially in portable classrooms), and industrial emissions at and around school. Advocate that schools use alternatives to pesticides, herbicides, and toxic cleaning materials whenever possible.

In California — where  one of every eight American students is educated — the Clean and Healthy Schools Act (AB821) was introduced by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D, Santa Monica) in February 2009 to require schools to usegreen cleaners. Following similar laws adopted in New York and Illinois, California has the opportunity to reduce exposures to toxic chemicals among students, teachers and staff. Send an email to support AB821 to your representative.

ORGANIZE TO PASS A SCHOOL BOARD RESOLUTION
You can work with parents, students, teachers, principals, district staff, school board members, and advocacy groups to get your local school board to pass a framework resolution promoting sustainable and healthy schools. By organizing around a school board resolution, disparate local groups working on issues from pesticides in schools to environmental education can join forces and work together, both to get the resolution passed, and then to implement it.Download our letterto send to school officials urging them to make your school a green school.

ENCOURAGE THE PRESIDENT TO MAKE GREEN SCHOOLS A PRIORITY
Sign our letter to President Obama and urge him to push Congress to make green schools a high priority in the legislative and to urge local school districts and city councils, mayors, governors, and state legislators to utilize green standards for school construction.

TOP 10 REASONS TO CREATE GREEN SCHOOLS

INCREASE STUDENT PEFORMANCE
Studies have shown that student test scores can improve up to 20% when kids learn in green classrooms that provide morenatural daylighting, improved classroom acoustics and healthier paints and carpets that don’t release toxic chemicals into the air.

PROTECT HEALTH
Schools built with more natural daylight, better ventilation and healthy green building materials such as non VOC carpets and paints, can improve student and teacher healthand result in fewer sick days, higher teacher retention and improved student attendance.

SAVE MONEY
Operating costs for energy and water can be reduced by 20% to 40%,allowing more money to be used for teacher salaries, textbooks and computers

PROVIDE A UNIQUE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY
Buildings can become teaching tools and important features of science, math, and environmental curriculumwhen green features and advanced technology and design in schools are used to excite kids about learning real world applications of green technologies.

REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS
Green Schools significantly reduces carbon dioxide emissions.  In Los Angeles alone, building 34 new green schools will reduce 94,000 tons of CO2 or the equivalent of eliminating more than 15,000 cars from the road every year or planting more than 280,000 trees!

REDUCE WATER USAGE
On average, a green school reduces water usage 32%.  This reduction has direct savings for the building as well as substantial societal benefits from lower pollution and reduced infrastructure costs to deliver water and to transport and treat wastewater.

IMPROVE TEACHER RETENTION
A green school can reduce teacher turnover by up to 5%which results in financial savings for the school, as well as a more positive experience for students

CREATE GREEN JOBS
Investing in building green schools is an investment in green jobsincluding green construction, building product manufacturing, and green architecture.

IMPROVE DAILY ATTENDANCE
Students in Green Schools are absent less frequently.  By reducing absenteeism just 15%, a typical elementary school would save from $40,000-$60,000.

IMPROVE EQUITY
Greening public schools creates an opportunity to improve the health and educational settings for all students, regardless of income or background.

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About Project Green Challenge

Project Green Challenge is a powerful, diverse, and far-reaching movement inspiring young people to take action and protect our planet. This October, Teens Turning Green is energizing high school and college students across the country to participate in Project Green Challenge, a 30-day green lifestyle initiative. The Challenge will raise awareness about conscious living, informed consumption and the collective impact of each of our actions. With the guidance of eco experts, industry leaders and the PGC Guide to Living Green, participants will discover how fun, easy and effective eco living can be.

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