Today, the Center for Green Schools and Architecture for Humanity released a new tool for catalyzing school building improvements in communities across the country. The Green School Investment Guide for Healthy, Efficient and Inspiring Learning Spaces was designed to help school stakeholders advocate for renovations, retrofits and upgrades that improve student and staff well-being, enhance learning environments, conserve resources and foster sustainable communities. In an action-oriented and accessible format, the guide helps to demystify the often-complicated processes of identifying building improvement opportunities and finance and implementation strategies. Using the tips, tools and charts provided, any school stakeholder – from parents to teachers to school board members and more – can link opportunity with strategy to maximize the benefits of green school improvements and advance their school and community priorities.
On the heels of the recently released Center for Green Schools 2013 State of our Schools report which highlights the scope of our nation’s school building needs, the Green School Investment Guide outlines steps school communities can take to address their deferred maintenance, improve indoor air quality and free up much needed funding for instruction.
With an estimated $542 billion needed to modernize our nation’s 100,000 public K-12 schools, it’s going to take a robust, integrated and collaborative strategy to restore, repair and revive our schools within this generation. As the State of our Schools report points out, we still need more precise, more detailed and more accurate information to direct our efforts. We need updated and regular data from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the condition of America’s schools. We need to explore, test and then put into practice new strategies that tap into innovative, entrepreneurial and creative mechanisms for financing school improvements – an initiative The Center for Green Schools and Architecture for Humanity are advancing together (read more about our partnership here). The third strategy is one we already have in our grasp: community engagement to improve existing school buildings. With the Green School Investment Guide, the Center and Architecture for Humanity support the effort of champions in making the case for change and ensure this critical work gets done.