WASHINGTON D.C. -- The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) today unveiled Local Leaders in Sustainability: A Special Report from Sundance, which outlines a five-point national plan that mayors and local leaders can use as a framework to develop and implement green schools initiatives.
"This report should serve as a guidepost for many communities throughout the country that are looking for ways to implement green initiatives but fear the expense involved," says AIA president Clark Manus, FAIA. "In reality, the average school is 42 years old, and energy inefficiencies cost it approximately $100,000 a year, money that could be better spent on teachers, education materials, books or computers."
The steps outlined in the five-point plan include tangible action steps and are based on the conversations that took place at Sundance and successful green schools initiatives from across the United States and include:
1. Connect with Green Schools Movement
2. Engage stakeholders and raise awareness
3. Build community support and capacity
4. Make it happen: benchmarking, policy and financing
5. Celebrate success
The report also provides a comprehensive review of the benefits of green schools; a summary of local, state and federal policy solutions; leadership profiles of green school advocates; and case studies from both large cities and small communities. Together, these resources serve as a roadmap on the journey to green schools.
This special report stems from outcomes at the Greening of America's Schools Summit, which took place November 2010 at the Redford Conference Center at Sundance, Utah. USGBC and its Center for Green Schools; the Redford Center, founded by Robert Redford; and ICLEI - Local Governements for Sustainability USA, collaborated to host the Greening of America's School Summit, which brought U.S. mayors and superintendents from cities across the country, along with leaders in green design, education, arts and green school advocacy to take part in an intimate discussion on the importance of greening school districts.
"Through the greening of America’s schools, we have the chance to improve the health and education of our children, inspire future leaders and create a stronger America," says Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, USGBC. "Sundance was just the beginning. This comprehensive blueprint provides local policy makers and community members ways in which they too can accelerate green schools in their areas."
"The Greening of Americas Schools Summit marked an important first step in realizing that the environmental quality of our schools is essential to our future and long-term well-being. As a result, Mayors and Superintendents came together to chart a new course toward healthy, sustainable schools where our children can grow and excel. We must now take this blueprint into action so that every child in America can attend a green school within this generation," says Martin J. Chávez, Executive Director, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability USA. The report was issued this week at the 2011 AIA National Convention and Design Exhibition in New Orleans and USGBC’s annual Government Summit in Washington, D.C. It can be downloaded free-of- charge from centerforgreenschools.org/actionplan.