Introduction – Kate
The idea of “Green Initiatives” in schools at any age level is a positive step towards installing sustainability in the minds of future generations. To reduce the amount of energy needed, recycle rain water, lessen landfill space and cut the barrels of oil used by Americans daily; can insure that our natural resource will be intact for many years to come. However, obstacles to Green Initiatives are costs, program management and proper data collection. Is it possible to initiate Green Methods in schools and really save cash as a result? It is possible. Let us examine which eco-friendly ideas work for institutions and which do not.
Relevant Facts – Mandy, Miranda, Kate, Tomika & Alicia
Why should schools “go green?” When a school “goes green,” that school is making the choice and the commitment to make their school more environmentally friendly. This includes doing things “to reduce carbon footprint, or the amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced” (Whelan, 2007). More and more, taking care of the environment is becoming an issue among people. They all want to know what they can do to make their environment safer and cleaner. Schools are becoming no exception to this endeavor. It does not take much for a school to make a difference. It can be something as simple as recycling plastic water bottles or something more complex such as installing energy-efficient solar panels in the roofing. Today’s schools have become more environmentally aware and many would like to incorporate green learning and living into their school systems. The definition of a green school is “a school building or facility that creates a healthy environment that is conducive to learning while saving energy, resources, and money” (www.greenschool-buildings.org). A school can be green in many ways; primarily this paper focuses on how a school can best go green. Much of what is discussed is school construction and renovation; however we also highlight some other areas in which schools can initiate green methods. The nation’s schools are currently built to code and meet government health and safety standards; is this enough or is there a better way? A study was performed of 30 green schools built 2001 – 2006 in 10 states. Some highlights from that study include:
Green school construction costs less than two percent more compared to conventional schools, at about $3 per square foot.
Direct and in-direct financial savings to the school and community were about $70 per square foot – 20 times as high as the cost of going green.
Green schools, on average, use 33% less energy than convention schools.
Reduction of average water use by 32%. Because of the process of water storage the school created with their green design, the city of Dedham, MA valued the improvement at $400,000.
Highly reflective green roofs life expectancy to last 30 – 50 years or longer.
An average reduction of 38.5% in asthma, over five separate buildings, due to improved air quality.
Today asthma rates are rising 20-50% every ten years throughout the world (Holguin 2004) There are some other reasons that schools choose to get on the good side of the environment by going green. An important reason behind this decision is in an effort to “provide a healthy, productive, comfortable environment for students and staff” (Lafee, 2010). This is because going green calls for cleaner air If a school is more environmentally sound, it is more likely that there will actually be a decrease in students being absent because of the cleaner air. Building green is especially beneficial to those students that have breathing problems. Many schools, as they are going green, are beginning to install solar panels in an effort to conserve energy and create clean energy. What are the benefits of using solar panels? They range from “economic, health, environmental, and financial benefits” (What Are the Benefits of Solar Power?, 2010). By using solar...
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