Here is an article that was reprinted by USGBC about the greening of public schools (originally published on May 14, 2009, CNNPolitics.com, Ed Hornick author). Finally, something good for the schools:
Rachel Gutter, of the U.S. Green Building Council, says the benefits of an eco-friendly school will pay off economically.
"The typical green school saves $100,000 a year on direct operating expenses. In school terms, that's enough to hire two new teachers, purchase 200 new computers or 5,000 textbooks," Gutter said.
"So these are major savings. And that's just one year. The typical school lasts 40 years. And when you do the math, it starts to become some serious savings. ... It pays for itself after a few years of operation."
The council, on its Web site, lists several benefits of green buildings, such as improving air and water quality, conserving natural resources, reducing operating costs and improving employee productivity.
But Gutter says that part of the concern over green schools is the fear over construction costs.
"The research shows the greatest barrier to getting more green schools built is the perception that they cost more up front to build," she said. "The fact of the matter is that they don't. ... Building green doesn't have to cost more, and then everything else, all the savings over the lifetime, are just savings you get to put back in your community's pocket."
The legislation, if signed into law, would also help to create new jobs -- around 136,000 positions, according to calculations by the Economic Policy Institute.
But much more is at stake, Gutter says.
"It's about raising a new generation of leaders who inevitably are going to inherit the problems we will leave behind," she said. "So when you're actually able to use the school itself as a teaching tool, as an opportunity for learning, that's when the connections with curriculum really start to happen."