The future is bright green for elementary students as the U.S. Green Building Council has certified roughly 1,000 schools nationwide and is considering additional certification during following months.
This year, more states are supporting policies that require eco-friendly building practices. Among them are Hawaii, Maryland, Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Connecticut, Alaska and Washington.
Although there are many green building certification programs, they all share similar standards. Most schools that apply or are certified have large windows, efficient heating and cooling units, improve the air quality, use recyclable materials and most importantly, educate students on environmental issues.
In Neptune, New Jersey, Summerfield Elementary School received the second-highest LEED certification in 2006. What started as a minor endeavor for the students and the teachers has reduced energy consumption by 30 percent and water by 40 percent. As a part of their certification process, ecological issues are incorporated into lesson plans.
Other schools are following in Summerfield Elementary’s green footprints, such as Great Seneca Creek Elementary School, Maryland’s first public school to receive certification. The school has promoted water conservation through motion-sensor faucets and waterless urinals.
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