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The benefits of early-stage energy modeling (USGBC Colorado)

November 17, 2017
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According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, the demand for high-performing buildings is increasing. That demand compels key stakeholders to consider all available sustainable methodologies and technologies at their disposal. One powerful technique for assessing the performance of a building is whole-building energy modeling. It can provide substantial value to project teams because it simulates and evaluates potential energy performance, leading to better-informed design decisions, compliance certification for local energy codes and easier pathways to building certification requirements.
Energy modeling can assess the potential energy savings of a project at any point in the design. However, it is much easier to incorporate recommended or even necessary changes when they are recognized early in the design process. Modeling analyses and results can lead the way toward the project’s energy goals and construction objectives.

Substantial opportunity for increased use

For energy modeling to translate easily into energy savings, its results and analyses should be applied early in the design process. It is estimated that building energy modeling is currently used for design in “20 percent of commercial new construction projects, with lower use in commercial interior, retrofit, and residential projects.” This figure signals a large opportunity for future use of energy modeling in 80 percent of commercial new construction projects, and even more in other projects.
Working with a design team early in the project can help a project team explore a panoply of design parameters and alternatives that might not otherwise be considered, including passive design elements such as building orientation, size of facility, function of the design, geometry/shape, building envelope materiality, window-to-wall ratio, shading and daylighting, among other elements.
Incorporating these features, as well as heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) strategies, into an early-stage design energy model can optimize whole-building performance and aid in meeting project energy goals. This approach can also reduce redesign time and costs that could otherwise arise when incorporating energy modeling later in the project.

Schematic design energy modeling benefits

But what clear benefits can a project team expect to see by implementing energy modeling early in the design process? The benefits are actually multiple and diverse, including:

  • Energy efficiency and certification goals are achieved more easily, due to more-informed design decisions.
  • Risks, delays and setbacks are mitigated through the elimination of redesign later in the project.
  • Different components and systems can be compared in order to choose those that will optimize energy efficiency and meet performance targets.
  • Energy modeling in the pre-design phase can allow a project to achieve 45 percent average savings per project compared to a baseline building.

Proponent for schematic design energy modeling

NORESCO, as one of the largest energy service companies in the United States, can attest to the benefits of schematic design energy modeling based on its experience with clients. The organization has provided early-stage modeling for projects during the conceptual and schematic design phases, with energy goals ranging from those under LEED Silver to near-net zero energy use.
To begin schematic design energy modeling, all that is needed are the preliminary building geometry and building operation schedules. The first step is to analyze the energy end-use breakout to identify the areas with the largest design impact. For one college campus dormitory project, early phase modeling revealed that the ventilation strategy was one of the largest end uses and needed careful design.
For an office building project, the window-to-wall ratio was investigated in detail to provide the client’s desired views. Other strategies that can be researched early include HVAC planning, such as variable air volume reheat strategies (electric versus hot water) or steam heating versus natural gas. While all end-uses—from building envelope to lighting—can be considered, part of the process is to prioritize which to investigate first to garner the largest energy savings.

The future looks bright

As building systems, technological components and designs increase in complexity, the benefits of early stage energy modeling should only continue to grow. An industry shift from established convention cannot be expected to occur immediately; however, thanks to the noticeable benefits of early-stage energy modeling, the industry is poised to pivot toward expanded use in the years ahead and building owners and occupants may reap the rewards.

USGBC staff volunteer for Green Apple Day of Service projects

November 17, 2017
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This fall, USGBC staff joined the movement of parents, teachers and organizations working to make our schools greener through Green Apple Day of Service. More than 70 percent of our Washington, D.C.-based staff and over 50 percent of our staff around the world participated in Green Apple projects this year. Throughout the months of September and October, D.C. staff volunteered with sustainability-focused programs in K–12 schools around the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area.

Discovery Elementary in Arlingon, Virginia

Discovery Elementary in Arlington, Virginia.

Our volunteers began each day visiting our closest net zero energy school, Discovery Elementary, to experience firsthand the impact of a green school. We saw how the physical environment and school curriculum can creatively work together to drive student understanding of sustainability. Among the highlights of the tour were an interactive rooftop solar lab, educational signage about the sustainable building features, physical design elements related to local plants and animals and a solar clock integrated into the school entranceway.

Discovery Elementary in Arlingon, Virginia

Discovery Elementary uses signage and graphics to educate on sustainability.

After the visit to Discovery Elementary, our staff split up to volunteer with two different projects. At Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School, volunteers helped rearrange existing planting beds to create a space for classes to meet outside. Incorporating outdoor space and daylight into learning environments has been shown to improve student performance and increase productivity, as well as conserve energy resources.

Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School Green Apple Day of Service project

USGBC staff volunteer at a Green Apple project at Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School.

The remaining staff volunteered for Joyful Food Markets, a program hosted by Martha’s Table and the Capital Area Food Bank that increases access to and encourages consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. The program is run at elementary schools in neighborhoods that have a lower income and less access to healthy foods, such as Cornerstone of Washington School, Cedar Tree Academy, and Powell Elementary School, Turner Elementary, and DC Prep, where USGBC staff volunteered.

Joyful Food Markets Green Apple Day of Service project

USGBC staff volunteer at a Green Apple project for Joyful Food Markets at DC Prep.

Green Apple Day of Service projects focus on making school improvements to benefit students in line with the three pillars of a green school: reduced environmental impact, health and well-being and increased sustainability and environmental literacy. The volunteer projects that USGBC staff participated in this year contributed in particular to the second and third pillars. Our staff was among the thousands of volunteers across 70 countries participating in Green Apple Day of Service, helping make schools everywhere healthier and more sustainable for future generations.

Participate in a Green Apple project in your community

Learning outside at the 2017 Green Strides Tour (USGBC Georgia)

November 16, 2017
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I had the honor of attending the Georgia Green Strides Tour 2017 with Andrea Falken of the U.S. Department of Education and Keisha Ford-Jenrette of the Georgia Department of Education, as well as numerous other national, state and local partners. We rode a van to some of the school sites that had been honored over the years as U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools. This year’s two-day tour focused on the theme “Taking Learning Outside,” and covered a wide range of approaches.

Our first stop, Pharr Elementary, had surveyed its teachers to learn their challenges in teaching and turned those into active, outdoor learning opportunities, which include hands-on learning modules for social studies lessons among the branches of a courtyard tree; various language arts rock gardens; and alphabet letters, words and numbers incorporated into garden pathways and signage.

At our second stop, Mason Elementary students were working toward answering the driving question of “How can we, as entrepreneurs, create a company to consistently produce enough to donate to the local community?” Students used their extensive hydroponics and aquaponics lab to determine which growing method might yield the greatest output. They also got dirty in an outdoor classroom pavilion and handicap-accessible, raised garden beds.

Mason Elementary students gardening

Mason Elementary School students. Photo by Steve Williams.

Our third stop, High Meadows School, demonstrated its commitment to outdoor learning from its founding principles. Students take advantage of a large outdoor play area, “The Meadow,” featuring a tire swing, natural play areas for digging and tree climbing, outdoor boat and dragon constructions, monarch way stations, native plantings, a stick fort, a retired train car turned into office space and playing fields in which the various grades learn cooperation and collaboration during all-school outdoor time. Students also learn to care for goats, chickens and horses under the skilled guidance of a full-time animal husbandry instructor.

Students learn to care for farm animals at High Meadows School.

High Meadows School students learn animal care. Photo by Steve Williams.

Ford Elementary, our last stop on day one, demonstrated a tremendous ability to sustain and grow an outdoor learning program over more than 20 years. Teachers explained how, by letting students drive learning, there is always something new to discover and add. Each year, students have studied various areas of their campus and evaluated how to make it a safer and healthier place to learn. This has led to students creating numerous outdoor classrooms, learning gardens, a compost station, a boardwalk to the site where they test stream water, trails and chicken coops, as well as dozens of other smaller outdoor projects, utilizing nearly every bit of outdoor space.

Ford Elementary students learn outdoors.

Outdoor projects at Ford Elementary. Photo by Steve Williams.

Morningside Elementary kicked off day two, a day that featured schools located in more urban areas of Atlanta. Students at Morningside demonstrated their mindful sustainability learning through a drum circle, work with a master gardener and learning from local business partners, who offer cooking demonstrations and taste testing in an outdoor amphitheater cooking station.

On limited land in an historic neighborhood, The Paideia School demonstrates a useful model for urban farming at campuses constrained by space. The full-time urban gardener and several part-time staff lead students to farm neighbors who volunteer their unused lands and successfully produce food in the city. How waste fits into this work is kept on the minds of these students with compost and recycling bins placed throughout the campus. The school hosts an annual zero-waste dinner for the community and features an amphitheater, fire truck climbing structure, monarch way stations and a fairy garden, among other outdoor learning tools.

Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School leverages its outdoor space to teach about healthy, local foods and cooking. The dedicated chef and the school farmer work with students to teach about how food is grown and prepared, the benefits of local purchasing and how sustainable, healthy nutrition impacts students’ bodies and minds. Students’ palates are thoughtfully broadened, and the menu is coordinated with the curriculum. Students also took part in the publication of a cookbook with some of their favorite recipes.

At our last stop, Georgia Institute of Technology, a 2016 Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee, we learned more about GIT’s Serve-Learn-Sustain initiative, which is engaging students from all of the colleges on campus to give back to their community. Students have focused learning beyond the boundaries of their college campus and are using the skills they have gained in collecting data to engage the community in solutions, such as how to reduce carbon emissions and study population diversity in the area.

Participate in upcoming USGBC Georgia events

America’s Pledge report shows commitments and trends in clean energy

November 16, 2017
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At COP23 this week in Bonn, Germany, a new report was released showing the cumulative impact of commitments by U.S. states, cities and businesses to take affirmative action to mitigate climate change.

On November 11, America’s Pledge on Climate co-chairs Michael Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown released “America’s Pledge Phase 1: States, Cities, and Businesses in the United States Are Stepping Up on Climate Action.” The report analyzes climate action by U.S states, cities, businesses and universities in support of the Paris Agreement.

A large number of these nonnational leaders have made commitments to achieving the climate goals of the Paris Agreement for our nation, some before and others since the U.S. administration announced its intent to pull out of the Paris Agreement. USGBC, which is taking part in COP23, signed on to the We Are Still In open letter earlier this year, which now includes over 2,500 U.S. states, cities and businesses declaring support for the Paris Agreement. Taken together, these commitments represent more than half the U.S. economy and population.

Even more states, cities and private actors are taking actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, whether motivated by climate concerns, economics, risk reduction or other factors. The America's Pledge on Climate initiative, launched in July 2017, collects and shares data on the actions of states, cities and businesses to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The report provides a valuable snapshot of where we are in the transition to a clean energy economy, and compiles key policies that benefit the climate in the public and private sectors.

We know that climate change is both the greatest challenge and the greatest economic opportunity for the U.S., and green buildings are one of the critical ways we can both combat climate change and enhance our economy. Indeed, the report points to state and city municipal green building programs as evidence of how nonfederal actors have been early leaders in reshaping markets.

Learn how you can get involved in fighting climate change.

Download the America's Pledge report

Become a USGBC committee member to help shape Greenbuild 2018

November 15, 2017
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At Greenbuild Boston, the Greenbuild Education Committees worked hard behind the scenes for the education program, the most popular reason to attend Greenbuild.

As the 2016 and 2017 Greenbuild Special Programs Working Group (SPWG) Chairperson, I have the opportunity to work alongside experts in green building education, educational program development, interior design, brand strategy and theatrical productions to develop and fine-tune the educational experience at Greenbuild. Together, we have conceptualized new ideas and strategies for the delivery of innovative education sessions at Greenbuild, which will impart knowledge on shaping a more sustainable built environment for years to come.

My two years as chairperson for the SPWG and four years total on the committee have been valuable to me, both professionally and personally, and I plan to continue my commitment by applying for another committee or working group as my term on the SPWG comes to a close.

Greenbuild Education Committees members are passionate, collaborative and engaged, which has been pivotal in our team’s success in working toward the sustainable communities of tomorrow. Don’t miss your chance to take part in this truly unique community. The 2018 Call for Expressions of Interest is open until November 20. Passionate, committed professionals in the green building industry should consider applying for the following committees or working groups:

I encourage you to join these impactful committees—submit your self-nomination and expand upon your professional experience. All committee terms begin in January 2018.

Apply for a Greenbuild Education Committee or Working Group

House committee considers bill to transform Energy Star

November 15, 2017
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This week, the U.S. House Energy and Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing to discuss draft legislation that would make major changes to the Energy Star program. Among them are a proposed move of Energy Star from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and an application of Administrative Procedures Act (APA) requirements to the Energy Star program.

Since its inception under the EPA in 1992, Energy Star has become a widely recognized symbol for energy efficiency in the United States. In 2015 alone, Energy Star-certified products, homes, buildings, and plants have enabled Americans to save $34 billion in energy costs. Such homes can allow homeowners to save up to 30 percent on their energy bills compared to a conventional home. The housing sector is taking notice of Energy Star’s value as well. Just last year, more than 92,000 Energy Star-certified new homes were built across the country.

The committee hosted several witnesses, each of whom expressed support in keeping the Energy Star program intact, though they disagreed in what form. Kateri Callahan, from the Alliance to Save Energy, voiced the organization's opposition to the move from EPA to DOE, calling it “tremendously disruptive” and stressing the negative effects it might have on existing partner relationships. Conversely, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers’ Joseph McGuire backed the move to DOE, citing “lack of expertise within EPA [which] led to complications with verification testing requirements” following the appliance standards program’s move to EPA in 2009.

Also discussed at the hearing was the proposed application of APA requirements to Energy Star. Greg Merritt, of Cree, Inc., expressed strong opposition to this potential change, saying that it “would add unnecessary, time-consuming and burdensome regulation to a voluntary program that by its very nature must be nimble, flexible and responsive.”

USGBC supports the continuation of Energy Star under the jurisdiction of EPA, as well as adequate funding to keep the program robust and effective. Read our letter sent to the House Energy and Commerce Committee leadership to learn more about USGBC’s views on the draft proposal.

Read USGBC's letter

Greenbuild 2018 call for proposals

November 14, 2017
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The Greenbuild 2018 Call for Proposals is now open. You may now submit a proposal for next year's Greenbuild, to be held in Chicago. Greenbuild features sessions covering all aspects of sustainable design, construction and operations practices for buildings and communities, including their impact on people, the environment and the economy.  

Greenbuild 2018

When: November 14–16
Where: Chicago, Illinois

Greenbuild remains committed to delivering a broad spectrum of education topics to reach our diverse attendees, and we are excited to offer new education formats, which we have made a priority in this year’s call for proposals Proposals are due Fri., January 5, 2018 at 5 p.m. EST.

Greenbuild 2018 Priorities

  1. Expert-Level sessions: Greenbuild has a firm commitment to providing educational content for the current and future generations of green building experts. We are seeking an increase in the diversity and volume of Expert-Level (formerly known as 400-level) sessions that present detailed reviews of specific topics or work on cutting-edge issues.
  2. Immersive and experiential learning: Greenbuild aims to provide a breadth of educational opportunities for all learning styles and is seeking proposals that offer immersive learning experiences, including elements such as technology, deep reflection, play-based learning and active participation.
  3. Inspirational content: Greenbuild is calling for education that not only imparts knowledge, but also inspires action. Proposals are evaluated, in part, on whether or not they offer innovative or inspirational content to green building professionals.
  4. Rating system-specific sessions: We are seeking sessions that teach attendees about the current versions of the rating systems by providing specific, detailed information and guidance about the credit intents and requirements, supplemented with real-world experiences with the LEED, WELL and SITES rating systems. Please consult our guidance on how to develop a rating system-specific session.

We encourage you to submit your session proposal for consideration in the 2018 Greenbuild Core Education Program through our submittal site. Please review the Submittal Guide, the Call for Proposals, and the Program Policies before submitting.

Greenbuild is also seeking peer reviewers to evaluate education session proposals for Greenbuild Chicago. You can earn up to three of your continuing education hours to help maintain your professional credential by serving as a Greenbuild peer reviewer Please see the Call for Reviewers, and apply to be a Greenbuild peer reviewer.

Submit a proposal

Registration now open for the 2018 Green Schools Conference and Expo in Denver

November 14, 2017
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Registration is now open for the 2018 Green Schools Conference and Expo and Rocky Mountain Green in Denver, Colorado. The Green Schools Conference and Expo (GSCE) is the only national event to bring together all of the players involved in making green schools a reality: people who lead, operate, build and teach in U.S. schools.

Collaboration and innovation are necessary ingredients to transform schools into healthier, more sustainable places to learn, work and play. Leaders and advocates come together each year to work toward making visible, measurable and lasting progress toward the three pillars of green schools: environmental impact, health impact and environmental and sustainability literacy.

This year, the GSCE will be hosted in partnership with Rocky Mountain Green (RMG), USGBC Colorado’s regional sustainability conference. Now entering its 11th year, RMG will convene industry leaders, experts and professionals to inspire, connect and advance sustainable building within the region. Attendees will explore current green building trends and identify upcoming projects that will help shape the growth of the green building movement in the Mountain West.

This year's GSCE and RMG partnership will bring together experts from diverse fields within the realm of sustainability for a unique opportunity for collaboration and networking.

When: May 3–4, 2018
Where: Hyatt Regency Denver in downtown Denver, Colorado

View pricing details.

The co-located conferences will feature nearly two days of programming, with inspiring keynote speakers, informative workshops and breakout sessions and the chance to network with colleagues from across the country.

  • Speakers: The nation’s education, environmental and business leaders take the stage to motivate, inspire and teach our community.
  • Program: Equity and inclusion are critical to ensuring that social justice and environmental sustainability reach all students. GSCE 2018 is offering sessions that address social and emotional climate, special needs in schools and promotion of equity through sustainability efforts.
  • Attendees: Participants in the conference are inspired by master series speakers, who address current challenges, set goals for future action and share best practices.
  • Exhibitors: In the Exhibit Hall, attendees can discover new products and services vital to their careers, while forging relationships with vendors and service providers that last well beyond the conference. It's a must-see destination, showcasing the best of the green schools community.

Engage in thought-provoking conversations and join the community of passionate individuals who help make schools healthier and more sustainable.

Register todayto save up to 25 percent with early-bird pricing.

Register for the Green Schools Conference

Leaders in sustainability convene at first Greenbuild India

November 13, 2017
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India
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Last week, the Greenbuild Conference and Expo made history by hosting the inaugural Greenbuild India in partnership with ABEC Exhibitions and Conferences. Hundreds of leaders, experts and frontline professionals dedicated to sustainable building convened in Mumbai for inspiring keynotes, robust sessions, invaluable networking and an interactive expo hall.

India’s sustainability and green building presence is growing rapidly, as India is now the third largest market for LEED outside of the United States. From housing to hotels, hospitals to schools, office buildings to transit systems, India is embracing LEED. In 2016, nearly 650 India building projects earned LEED certification.

In his keynote address, Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO of USGBC and GBCI, shared that the progress of LEED in India is a credit to the many advocates and organizations that have helped to build momentum for our movement. He also celebrated impressive milestones, including the news that Terminal 3 at the Delhi International Airport is the first airport in the world to adopt the Arc platform, and that Metro Bhawan, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s headquarters, is the first building in the world to achieve LEED certification through Arc. “I am so proud that this kind of leadership is coming from India and that we are making this kind of impact on the global stage," said Ramanujam.

Greenbuild India recap

  • Workshops: On Wednesday, USGBC Faculty led two all-day, preconference workshops that focused on LEED v4 and EDGE.
  • Education: On Thursday and Friday, education sessions offered attendees opportunities to learn about the latest green building research and to earn continuing education hours.
  • Expo: From Thursday to Sunday, an innovative expo floor featured the latest products and services from over 100 exhibitors.
  • Opening Plenary: On Thursday, Edward Mazria, internationally recognized architect, author, researcher and educator, addressed attendees as the Opening Plenary keynote speaker. He is the founder of Architecture 2030, and over the past decade, his research of the built environment has redefined the role of architecture, planning, design and building. During his keynote address, Mazria challenged India to become the global leader in climate change.
  • Executive Luncheon: On Thursday, C-level executives were celebrated at the Greenbuild Executive Luncheon. A panel focused on the dynamic interaction between buildings, the technology we use to ensure optimum performance within them and the health of their occupants. Panelists included Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan (Moderator), Managing Director, GBCI India; R. Subramanian, Managing Director, Saint-Gobain; Anita Arjundas, Managing Director and CEO, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd.; Rajat Malhotra, ‎Chief Operating Officer, IFM West Asia, JLL; and Prashant Kapoor, Principal Industry Specialist, IFC. Dr. M. Ramachandran, a renowned thought leader, author and former Secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development, closed the event with a brief presentation. He is known for the various urban reforms and rejuvenation steps he led to change the face of India’s urban sector.
  • Greenbuild Celebration: On Thursday evening, attendees celebrated the green building community with dinner, networking and a performance by Jonita Gandhi at the LEED-certified ITC Maratha hotel.
  • Women in Green: On Friday, female leaders attended the inaugural Women in Green Power Luncheon. Kate Hurst, SVP, Conferences and Events, USGBC, opened the event and acknowledged the role of women in shaping the green building movement. Then, Mili Majumdar, Managing Director, GBCI India, moderated a panel discussion with Deepa Sathiaram, Executive Director, En3 Sustianability Solutions; Sheila Sri Prakash, Founder and Chief Architect, Shipla Architects Planners Designers; Poorva Keskar, Director, VK:e environmental; and Vivien Lee, VP of Marketing–Asia Pacific, Interface.
  • Closing Plenary: On Friday, the Closing Plenary served as an inspirational end to the week by recognizing the Greenbuild India Leadership Award recipients. The Greenbuild Leadership Awards recognize exceptional organizations at the forefront of the green building movement. Eight organizations were recognized for raising the bar when it comes to creating healthier, more sustainable buildings, communities and cities. Recipients included: DMRC, Dr. Mangu Singh, Managing Director; K Raheja Corp., Kishore Bhatija, Managing Director, Real Estate Development; DLF Power and Services Ltd., Gautam Dey, Director; Infosys Ltd., Swapnil Joshi, Regional Manager, Infrastructure and Green Initiatives; ITC Hotels, Dipak Haksar, Chief Executive; En3, Deepa Sathiaram, Director; EDS, Tanmay Tathagat, Director; and LEAD, M. Selvarasu, Director. Afroz Shah, lawyer and environmental organizer, closed the event with keynote presentation. Shah is known for leading the world’s largest beach cleanup project. Since 2015, he has organized volunteer opportunities to clean Mumbai’s Versova beach. So far, volunteers have collected over 4,000 tons of trash from the 2.5-kilometer beach. Shah vows to continue his beach cleanup crusade until people around the world change their approach to producing, using and discarding plastic, as well as other products that wash up on beaches.

Greenbuild 2018

Join us next year for Greenbuild India, from Nov. 15 to 18, in Mumbai. Registration will open in Summer 2018.

Visit the Greenbuild India site

Happy birthday to the Center for Green Schools

November 13, 2017
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It seems like only yesterday, but it’s been 10 years since USGBC launched the National Green Schools Campaign alongside partners at the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) event, committing to a vision of green schools for every child. That same year, USGBC launched the LEED for Schools rating system, which provided a leadership standard for better, healthier school buildings.

After listening to and learning from school leaders around the country, USGBC founded the Center for Green Schools almost exactly three years after its CGI commitment, with support from United Technologies Corp., broadening its foundational work in the green building movement to encompass topics and issues important to teachers, students, staff and parents.

Contributions to the green schools movement

Just as when we started, the Center for Green Schools is committed to the highest-impact opportunities to accelerate a global green schools movement. Since the founding:

  • We have inspired 2,013 certified and 2,133 registered LEED K–12 school projects as well as 4,247 certified and 3,862 registered LEED college and university projects.
  • We introduced, with partners, the concept of Green Ribbon Schools to the U.S. Department of Education and encouraged it to launch the award program. We partnered with the agency to design and host its web site, greenstrides.org, the largest repository of free sustainability resources for schools.
  • Our staff and volunteers have worked with state governments to establish the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools award program in dozens of states, strengthening the program’s “three pillars” of a green school as unifying criteria for the movement. This criteria are now used by organizations in 28 countries around the world.
  • We have inspired and sustained community service in schools through Green Apple Day of Service, driving the action of more than 790,000 volunteers across 73 countries since 2012, impacting more than 7.1 million students.
  • We lead the premier conference for green schools leaders and advocates, the annual Green Schools Conference and Expo.
  • We co-published the most comprehensive analysis of the current state of K–12 school buildings in more than 20 years through the publication of the 2016 State of Our Schools report, which appeared in dozens of local and national press outlets and generated more than 546 million media impressions.
  • We have reinforced the argument that healthy learning environments lead to thriving communities with the publication of hundreds of pages of original research and policy analysis.
  • Through our network of over 300 state lawmakers, we have helped to increase the introduction of green schools legislation in U.S. states fivefold.
  • We have been the primary voice for a new job class, the K–12 sustainability director, providing professional development to a growing network of 120 school district staff who collectively serve over 7.5 million students.
  • We have established four Green Schools Fellowships to successfully institutionalize sustainability positions in school districts. In addition, we have directly supported intensive professional development for 21 individuals through yearlong scholarships for school district sustainability staff.
  • We unveiled Learning Lab, a robust platform for curriculum content, which piloted with over 1,000 teachers in 26 countries. The platform now hosts over 500 lessons in both English and Spanish, provided by 10 high-quality partner organizations besides USGBC.
  • We launched LEED Lab, a course to teach the LEED rating system to college and university students by giving them hands-on experience in one of their buildings, an opportunity now offered in 25 institutions around the world.

We’ve been busy, as have the thousands of people we work with each day to make green schools for every child a reality. Don’t miss what we’re up to next—make sure you’re signed up for the Center for Green Schools updates in your usgbc.org subscriptions. And join us in person in May 2018, as we celebrate at the Green Schools Conference and Expo in Denver.

Explore the Center for Green Schools

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