Last week at the annual Greenbuild Conference Expo in Toronto, the Center for Green Schools and United Technologies Corp. held a press conference to announce findings from a new independent study conducted on green schools, as well as initiatives the Center will be taking in 2012. The results of the survey brought light to the fact that Americans are concerned about the status of high-efficiency buildings in our country.
The results found that one in three of those surveyed thought the majority of U.S. schools are in “poor shape.” And only six percent rated American schools as being in “excellent” shape. The same poll showed that Americans see school modernization as a high-priority investment. Other key findings include:
- More than half of the respondents would be likely to support federal investment in school infrastructure modernization designed to make healthier learning environments.
- Nearly 7 of 10 of respondents agree that tax dollar savings are a possible benefit of school building improvements.
- 82.7 percent of respondents agree that improved student performance is possible benefit of school building improvements.
- 71.8 percent of respondents agree that an improved environmental footprint is a possible benefit of school building improvements.
After the results were shared with the audience, Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools, explained what’s next for green schools. For 2012, the Center is focused on engaging the public in the conversation around the health and environmental benefits of green schools and campuses and encouraging “action.” Some of the goals and initiatives include:
- Start “The Center for Green Schools National Day of Service,” which will bring groups including USGBC Chapters, USGBC Students, legislators, mayors and members of school communities across the country together on one day around dedicated acts of service. These volunteers and green schools champions will take part in a variety of projects, from school yard cleanups to full scale energy audits, driving home the vision that green schools are for all students.
- Expand the USGBC Students Program to 500 campuses across the country, supporting and training more than 15,000 students as they work toward greener campuses and communities.
- Launch a program to support community colleges and under-resourced institutions in building green campuses and communities that are educating and training a diverse group of students to be successful in the green economy.
- Grow the Center for Green Schools UTC Fellowship Program.
- Continue to encourage bi-partisan support for green school initiatives through effective policies.
The findings of the survey, along with Rachel’s remarks on the Center’s initiatives, are a step forward with the green schools movement, and make the goal of green schools for everyone within this generation a reality. With the U.S. Government Accountability Office reporting that at least 25,000 U.S. schools are in need of extensive repairs, and numbers showing that on average, green schools save $100,000 per year on operating costs, the need for these schools is crucial.
For more information on the survey, you can download our press release.