United Technologies (UTC) is a diversified company that provides a broad range of high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building systems industries. As Founding Sponsor of the Center for Green Schools, UTC's generous support helps the Center raise the volume on USGBC’s efforts to drive wholesale change in how schools are designed, constructed and operated so that they enhance the learning experience for students and save money for school districts and higher education institutions.
I had the chance to sit down with John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer for United Technologies Climate, Controls & Security, and learn more about his role, and why green schools efforts are so important to him.
Tell us more about your role with United Technologies Corp.
I serve as the chief sustainability officer for United Technologies Climate, Controls & Security. My job is to assess global environmental trends to guide product development, brand positioning and market engagement opportunities. I also lead the company’s marketing and communications function.
Why did UTC decide to elect to be the Center’s Founding Sponsor?
The Center’s mission – green schools for all within this generation – aligns with our longstanding commitment to education and the environment. Green schools will save operating costs, lower environmental footprints and improve the learning performance for a generation of students.
How do UTC’s corporate responsibility goals intersect with the mission of the Center for Green Schools?
Our approach to sustainability is rooted by three beliefs:
- Green products must start at a green company
- Global dialogue can rebalance the built environment with the natural environment
- Green building will accelerate with education
The Center for Green Schools directly ties to education. Students who learn at green schools are exposed to sustainability concepts early in their education. The Center calls these students sustainability natives, leaders of tomorrow who are capable of driving global market transformation. As founding company number one of the USGBC, we have a long history of supporting global market transformation in the built environment.
Since becoming the Founding Sponsor of the Center for Green Schools, which of UTC’s contributions to the green schools movement are you most proud or excited about?
Working on the advisory board, UTC has helped shape the focus of the Center’s data collection effort, which will be published semi-annually as a report card. The Center uses this to track progress against its goals and to keep the public informed on its efforts. Good data provides a center of gravity for any effort. We look forward to the Center serving as a world-class data provider in the educational space.
Our employees have also enthusiastically responded to the Green Apple Day of Service. Last year in the U.S., Carrier provided sustainability training to 150 fourth- and fifth-grade students. In China, through our Green Shoots program, we held interactive classes on environmental science and health topics for about 335 students.
Through the Green Apple initiative, the Center continues to actively seek new corporate partners. In your opinion, what’s in it for prospective partners?
Every day, 25 percent of Americans wake up and go to school as students, faculty, staff and administrators. Our opportunity is to make those schools showcases for energy efficiency, natural resource stewardship and optimal environments for full learning potential.
What do you consider to be the greatest challenge that the Center and its partners will need to overcome in order to achieve their mission of every student in a green school within generation?
The 2013 Center for Green Schools State of Our Schools report finds that $542 billion would be required over the next 10 years to modernize our Pre-K through 12th grade educational infrastructure. This would not include new construction to accommodate growth. That same report highlights that we have a lack of sufficient, comparable facility data aligned to basic education data and this is hindering our ability to address the safety, health and educational and environmental challenges of our public school facilities.
So our challenge is great, but the opportunity is greater. The data also shows that green schools offer the dual value of saving tax payer operating costs while improving student performance. We must bridge the divide from facilities to student performance to demonstrate the true payback from green school investments. Green schools have shown to boost test scores and graduation rates. Students learn more and perform better. This is the true benefit. When we achieve our goal of green schools for all within this generation, we’ll have a new generation better equipped to tackle our nation’s challenges and compete in the global marketplace.