From the Editor: Easy to be green

I went to elementary school during the 1970s, in buildings constructed right after World War II. Terms like energy efficiency, daylighting, eco-friendly materials, and carbon footprint were unheard of.

Fast-forward 45 years: Technological advances and sound research into the connection between student’s, learning and their environment transformed green schools into a mainstream concern. We have followed those changes in our pages with articles, columns, and special sections, informing school leaders of what they needed to know every step of the way.

That’s why I’m pleased that we are kicking off NSBA’s Clean, Green, and Safe Schools initiative with the February issue of ASBJ. This initiative will provide more information you can use to develop policies to protect the health and safety of students, teachers, administrators, and visitors.

It also gives you access to experts who can help you develop and implement plans to improve school buildings so they are energy- and cost-efficient, safe, and designed to provide an optimal learning environment.

Providing support with this program is Honeywell, a leading developer of technology with years of experience in developing clean, green, and safe buildings.

Environmentally conscious building and construction can be expensive and occasionally a hard sell to communities. Senior Editor Del Stover’s article, “Finding Green to Go Green,” shows how districts can reap monetary rewards from energy savings. Schools increasingly are using solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal heating and cooling systems, and biomass furnaces.

Less visible conservation strategies include adding insulation to renovated and newly constructed buildings, making better use of sunlight to cut lighting bills, and installing high-tech climate control systems to monitor and conserve a building’s energy use.

Staff Writer Michelle Healy’s article, “Green in Action,” highlights six schools honored by the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) program. These schools are best practice examples of how to use environmentally friendly concepts.

Have an opinion on this issue? I’d love to hear it.

Until next issue...

Kathleen Vail

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