New Caucus Formed to Promote Benefits and Raise Awareness of Green Schools
By CP Editorial Staff November 2007 - Energy EfficiencyA new caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives has formed to raise awareness of and promote the benefits of green schools and their ability to foster learning, protect student and teacher health, save school districts' money and reduce the impact the schools have on the environment.
The Green Schools Caucus was created recently with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The goals of the caucus are to raise awareness of the benefits of green schools, lead the policy discussion on the topic in various forums, create legislative opportunities for the collective efforts of the caucus members, and provide members of Congress with constituent outreach resources.
A 2006 study sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers, the American Institute of Architects, the American Lung Association, the Federation of American Scientists and USGBC found that building green would save an average school $100,000 each year in energy costs— enough to hire two additional full-time teachers, purchase 5,000 new textbooks, or buy 500 new computers.
Caucus members and their staff will participate in educational programs to learn what is occurring nationally and in their districts, including site visits to green schools and educational panels with teachers, architects and school officials from across the country.
According to "Greening America's Schools: Costs and Benefits, 2006," it costs on average less than 2 percent more — about $3 extra per square foot — to build a green school rather than a conventional school. The payback occurs within one year based on energy savings alone, according to the study.