Each year, the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools announces its “Best of Green Schools” list, which recognizes educational institutions across the country for embracing environmental initiatives.
According to the Center for Green Schools, on average, green schools use 33% less energy and 32% less water than conventionally designed schools, which considerably reduces utility costs. Between utility and operating cost savings, green schools save an average of $100,000 annually. That’s enough money, in certain instances, to bring two additional teachers on board or purchase 200 new computers!
Here are just a few of the winners. To see the entire list of winners, click here.
Bertschi Science Wing
This school building in Seattle is the first project in the world built to Living Building Challenge v2.0 standards. It was collaboratively designed along with the students and includes net-zero water and net-zero energy usage. A 20 kW photovoltaic system produces all of the electricity needed for the building, and also allows students to participate in real-time monitoring of energy use and photovoltaic production. All of the water needed is produced and treated onsite.
Johnson County Community College (JCCC)
JCCC, based in Overland Park, KS, hosts sustainability-themed webinars for the Kansas Higher Education Sustainability Network to share best practices and green initiatives. The college has received LEED certification for one building and is in the process of certifying two more. The college also offers a single-stream recycling system, which has brought in more than $75,000 for student scholarships, and a composting system that has diverted 50 tons of organic waste since 2011. Energy-efficiency retrofits have led to almost $1 million in savings across four years for JCCC.
Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH, aims to engage all community members in sustainability issues. Projects at Oberlin College include a near-zero waste community block party, a campus-wide move-out/reuse sale, and a recycled products co-op. Oberlin also features the largest solar array of any private, four-year U.S. liberal arts college. The college has five LEED-certified buildings and started its own Green Room Program, which allows Oberlin students to certify their own dorm rooms based on certain sustainability tools and initiatives.
Have you tried any of the initiatives these green schools are using? Any ideas about which schools will make the Best of Green Schools 2013 list?