What we learned: Webinar series on getting schools to zero carbon

Published on: 
21 Jun 2021
Phoebe Beierle

Each year, more cities and towns, colleges and universities, and businesses commit to aggressive environmental and clean energy goals, but our nation’s schools have been slow to participate. If the U.S. is to be successful in meeting the goals of the Paris climate accord, all industries, including K–12 schools, will need to transition to carbon-free operations over the next 10–30 years.

Understanding the incredible opportunities that exist in the K–12 sector for reducing carbon emissions and at the same time engaging students in real-world climate change education and job skills, the Center for Green Schools and K–12 Climate Action with the Aspen Institute, with sponsorship from enVerid and Entegrity, hosted a webinar series this past spring to help school systems on their path to zero carbon emissions.

Over the course of the three sessions, attendees learned about the process of assessing scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions across a complex school system, different pathways for establishing reduction goals, and the various industry tracking tools for managing greenhouse gas emissions targets and progress over time. By highlighting the unique climate action journeys of a diverse group of schools and districts, the 675 webinar registrants were inspired by different scales, strategies and angles of success.

One exciting trend echoed by many of the presenters was that student-led action for clean energy, climate justice and zero carbon policies is taking place now, and these presenters only expect to see it increase in prevalence across the U.S. in the years ahead. The recent passage of the school board resolution for 100% clean energy by 2030 in the Miami-Dade County Public School District in Florida is a perfect example, which you can learn more about in the May 12 session.

In case you missed the sessions live, you can access event slides, resources and the recordings on USGBC’s education platform for free.

If you are interested in learning more about the process of greenhouse gas emissions accounting, tools and resources to assess and track reductions over time, and additional benefits from doing so, join us at the 2021 virtual Green Schools Conference, June 28 and 29. We have a great lineup of sessions, with several focused on carbon:

  • Zero Energy = Zero Added Cost (June 28 at 1 p.m. ET)
  • Always Be Carbon-Neutral—ABCs of Getting to Carbon-Neutral in Schools (June 28 at 4:45 p.m. ET)
  • From Yellow to Green: Starting the Transition to Electric School Buses (June 29 at 1 p.m. ET)

Access the webinar series slides and recordings