Green schools are popping up all over the nation. These schools are considered environmentally preferable because they take measures to ensure more sustainable use of the planet’s resources and a healthier school environment for students.
The most popular tool for measuring sustainable practice is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, or as most call it, LEED.
Anne Nichols reports on the reasons why schools are taking these steps to become greener.
Anne Nichols (1:45)
Laura Bollman (0:26)
Drew Charter School’s Director of Implementation and Design
Charlie Cichetti (1:01)
CEO of Sustainable Investment Group
Leesa Carter-Jones (1:46)
Former Executive Director of U.S. Green Building Council-Georgia Chapter
NAT POP (Drew Charter School Band Playing) (0:09)
The band students at Drew Charter School’s Senior and Junior Academy begin their day in a ceiling-to-floor windowed room surrounded by enhanced acoustical design. These features are a result of the administration’s decision to pursue LEED certification. Laura Bollman (LORAH BOWLMAN), Drew’s director of implementation and design, played an integral role in this decision.
Laura Bollman (0:20)
Drew’s Director of Implementation and Design
“We truly believe our school is an environment that we want our students to learn in, and learn from, and so along the way we really decided to pursue LEED as we saw the overlaps continuing to happen between what we wanted to do green building wise and what LEED was offering.
The major benefits of a LEED certified school are lower costs of operating, better student health, and a smoother functioning school. Charlie Cichetti (CHARLEE KICHEHTEE), chief executive of Sustainable Investment Group, says going green pays off for schools.
Charlie Cichetti (0:17)
CEO of Sustainable Investment Group
“The LEED certification is not just saving energy it’s saving water, but we look at everything, the materials you build the building out of, make sure they last longer. For LEED for Schools especially we look for the chemicals even on the desks that the students sit at.
LEED buildings conserve energy and water in various ways. Installing high efficiency air conditioning systems and using natural daylight to mitigate the need for artificial light are just a few of these ways. LEED also encourages schools to lower volatile organic compounds in the school’s building materials and eliminate hazardous chemicals in janitorial supplies. Leesa Carter-Jones, former executive director of the US Green Building Council Georgia Chapter, agrees schools should be taking the steps to become certified.
Leesa Carter-Jones (0:10)
Former executive director of the U.S. Green Building Council-Georgia Chapter
“Those two reasons alone, children’s health and cost to the community and good community resources, it’s like I don’t even understand why we’re still having a conversation about it.”
Cichetti (KICHEHTEE) goes on to explain opposition to schools becoming LEED certified.
Charlie Cichetti (0:11)
I think those that would be opposed to LEED for schools are more opposed to idea that it’s going to cost a lot more for this school that we can barely afford maybe in the public environment.”
The benefits for Drew Charter School greatly outweigh the green premium. Bollman contends the school gains by functioning better and building community.
Laura Bollman (0:08)
“Ultimately we decided to pursue LEED to add credibility and distinction to our school for our students, teachers, donors, everybody.
Carter-Jones says green initiatives raise awareness among students and engages them in the conversation about the environment. They go home and discuss it with their parents.
Leesa Carter-Jones (0:08)
“It begins to create a community change and transformation which I think is at the heart of what the green building industry is trying to do.” (7:26-7:34)
More and more schools are beginning to take Drew Charter School’s lead to become certified. There are currently 866 certified schools in the nation and 1,296 schools in the process of becoming certified. With the lower operational costs, improved health benefits, and overall functionality of the school, the trend of LEED certification for schools seems to logically be on the rise.
Anne Nichols, Sustainable Investment Group (0:04)
NAT POP (0:10)