Sunday, September 26, 2010

Green School Census

Although green schools are proliferating, determining the exact number depends on how you define green. An orthodox interpretation would suggest that a truly green school involves both green building certification and a sustainable curriculum.

Green building is a strong and growing trend, according to green building industry leader Jerry Yudelson, green building has continued to grow worldwide, even through the recession. With corporate America greening its real estate portfolio, it is estimated that 10 percent of all commercial construction starts are now green. The estimated value of green building construction has grown to $60 billion in 2010.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is a non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable building design and construction and LEED certification. LEED rating systems are developed through an open, consensus-based process led by LEED committees. Since 2000, USGBC membership has more than quadrupled to 19,957 member organizations and over 5 billion square feet of commercial building space.

While USGBC offers industry leading certification, it may not be the best way to assess the number of green schools. There are a number of schools that do not have LEED certification, but due to their sustainable curriculums, merit being counted as green.

Green curriculums are teaching the skills that will empower people to engage the environmental challenges we face. Sustainable programs are proliferating rapidly, according to a book by Bob Willard, The Next Sustainability Wave: Building Boardroom Buy-In, as of 2005 there were already numerous MBA programs that had integrated sustainability training. As of 2010 green MBAs can be found all across America.

An inclusive approach to assessing the number of green schools involves counting those schools that have made a public commitment to incorporating sustainability into their educational programs and operations. Around the world, there are more than 400 schools that have made a such a pledge.

In a 1990 document known as the Talloires Declaration, school administrators signed-on to a ten-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach.

There are currently 419 signatories of the Talloires Declaration, 164 of these schools are located in the United States, with large concentrations in Canada, England, Brazil, and Australia.

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Anonymous said...

It might be a good idea for those in Greed Education to consult those already in Green Business about what they know, wht they need their employees to know, and develop a curriculum from there.

The Green Market Oracle said...

You make a very good point. Thankfully in many regions across the country the business community is working in consort with local educational establishments to create curriculums that meet the needs of business.