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Press Room

About Center for Green Schools

What is the Center for Green Schools?

  • The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) established the Center for Green Schools in 2010 broadening its work in the green building movement to encompass the unique topics and issues facing schools and the people and communities they serve.
  • From kindergarteners to Ph.D. students, the Center works to provide every person – student, staff, faculty and beyond – access to learning environments that sustain the world they live in, enhance their health and well-being, and prepare them for 21st century careers.
  • Through a variety of programs, the Center is focused on promoting the design and construction of green school buildings; publishing original research and policy analysis that guide decision makers; developing sustainability curriculum for K-12 and higher education institutions; providing teachers and faculty with continuing education; and supporting Green Apple Day of Service events.
  • The Center works with school decision makers, community volunteers, and thought leaders in the public and private sectors to drive progress at the intersection of sustainability, education, public health, and the built environment.

LEED for schools

  • As the world’s most widely used green building program, LEED provides third party verification that schools have met the goals they’ve set around sustainability for new construction, renovations or day-to-day operations.
  • The Center works with schools and school districts to benchmark and communicate building sustainability performance using the Arc platform. Schools are tracking energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience, using the data to create new teaching opportunities and engage students in sustainability learning.
  • LEED Lab is a multidisciplinary immersion course in which higher education students assess the performance of existing facilities on campus, select one building, and facilitate the LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M) process with the goal of certifying the facility.

Sustainability education

  • Learning Lab is an online platform that provides K-12 teachers and school leaders with comprehensive, project and STEM-based curriculum that encourages student leadership, environmental literacy, and real-world action.
  • The Green Classroom Professional (GCP) certificate helps K-12 educators and school staff identify what supports or impedes healthy, resource-efficient and environmentally sustainable learning spaces. GCP provides foundational knowledge of green building and LEED in the context of the school setting and ways to identify.

Green Apple Day of Service

  • Green Apple Day of Service gives parents, teachers, students, companies and local organizations the opportunity to transform all schools into healthy, safe and productive learning environments through local service events.
  • Since 2012, nearly one million volunteers in more than 70 countries have had an impact on the learning environments of 7 million students and teachers around the world.

Green Schools Conference and Expo

  • Annually, the Green Schools Conference & Expo (GSCE) connects green school champions nationwide for two days of learning and collaboration in support of equitable, healthy and high-performing schools.
  • The largest gathering of K-12 green schools advocates in the country, the Green Schools Conference & Expo brings together teachers, school and district administrators, facility directors, sustainability and energy managers, government officials, non-profit leaders, students, design professionals, and more.
  • The 2018 GSCE took place May 3-4 in Denver, Colorado. The conference was collocated with the annual Rocky Mountain Green conference, the largest green building conference in the Rockies. In 2019, GSCE will take place April 8-9 in St. Paul, Minnesota. It will again collocate with the IMPACT conference, the largest green building conference in the Midwest.

Guiding policy and investment

  • The Center puts forth international, U.S. federal, state, and local policy priorities annually, focused on increasing financial support for school facilities and operations and on furthering sustainability literacy in schools.
  • At the U.S. federal level, our current aim is to lay the groundwork for school building improvement through better facilities data, enabling future advocacy for investment and policy change. At the state level, we strengthen our wide network of state legislators, each of whom introduces and advocates for transformative green schools policies in his or her state.