Healthy and Sustainable Learning Environments: Green Ribbon Schools

May 18, 2011

By Ameeta Soni, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, VFA, Inc.

The new Green Ribbon Schools program from the U.S. Department of Education, which will recognize schools for energy conservation, creating healthy learning spaces, and teaching environmental literacy, is a great step in encouraging schools across the country to become more sustainable, especially with tight budgets and the need for increased efficiency.

The many potential green building initiatives a school can undertake compete for budget with other capital projects, including renovations and new construction. While schools may single out opportunities to improve sustainability, realistically, those investments will need to be considered in the context of other needs.

With the right framework and tools in place, schools can:

  • Evaluate the sustainability of their existing facilities
  • Reduce their environmental impact
  • Increase their energy efficiency and cost savings
  • Promote a healthier environment

Whether a school already has a sophisticated sustainability program or is newly engaged in this effort, it’s important to evaluate and prioritize green options while remaining aligned with the overall educational mission.

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