December 12, 2011 (COLUMBUS) The U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools today released its inaugural Best of Green Schools 2011 list recognizing the State of Ohio and the Ohio School Facilities Commission for leading the nation in the number of schools seeking certification. The award highlights school administrators and government leaders in 10 categories for efforts to create sustainable learning environments.
The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC), which in 2007 adopted a requirement that all OSFC-funded buildings incorporate the LEED for Schools® design criteria, currently has 265 buildings that are either registered or have achieved certification, including eight buildings with the Silver designation, nine facilities with Gold status, and one receiving a rating of Certified. In addition to the Commission’s program, another 55 buildings have sought certification through programs outside of the OSFC.
Recipient schools and regions from across the nation – from K-12 to higher education – were recognized for a variety of sustainable, cost-cutting measures, including energy conservation, record numbers of LEED® certified buildings and collaborative platforms and policies to green U.S. school infrastructure. Their commitments to measurable and innovative sustainable building goals serve as models for schools and campuses everywhere.
Commission Executive Director Richard Hickman said the agency was thrilled by the recognition. “As an agency, OSFC is dedicated to working in partnership with local school districts to build facilities that enhance education and emphasize operational efficiency. The use of green building techniques such as those established by the U.S. Green Building Council are a vital part of this initiative. We will continue our efforts to lead the nation in incorporating these sustainable design techniques into our projects.”
Established in 1997, the Commission is responsible for administration of the state’s school construction and renovation program. The Commission is currently working with, or has completed all necessary work in, over half of the state’s 613 school districts. As of July 1, 2011, OSFC had opened 863 new or renovated buildings and had completely addressed the facilities needs of 196 districts across the state.
“The Best Of Green Schools 2011" recipients represent high notes for the green schools movement over the past year and were selected from the thousands of examples of leadership we have seen from schools, districts, campuses, cities and states,” said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. “Tomorrow’s future leaders are in school today. This year’s designees recognize the importance of educating high-performing, 21st century leaders in high-performing, 21st century classrooms. Why green our schools? Three words: education, sustainability, and jobs.”
According to published reports, green schools save on average $100,000 per year on operating costs — enough to hire two new teachers, buy 200 new computers, or purchase 5,000 textbooks. On average, green schools use 33 percent less energy and 32 percent less water than conventionally constructed schools, and if all new U.S. school construction and renovation went green today, the total energy savings alone would be $20 billion over the next 10 years.
“Our commitment to green schools is a reflection of our belief in the importance of energy efficiency, sustainability and education,” said Sandy Diehl, Vice President, Integrated Building Solutions, United Technologies Corp., and a Center for Green Schools advisory board member. “These leaders are taking action today to help improve our schools by saving energy and tax dollars and by creating healthier environments for students and teachers.”
Please visit http://centerforgreenschools.org/bestof2011 for more information on each of this year’s recipients