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Green Schools

Marcy

The U.S. Green Building Council has a vision to provide green schools for everyone within a generation. A bold vision, perhaps, but it is the main reason that the USGBC formed the Center for Green Schools in 2010. The Center expands the USGBC's efforts to drive change in how schools and campuses are designed, constructed and operated so they will enhance student's learning experiences. Additionally, the Center engages educators in creating sustainable learning environments and applies solid research to advocate for the benefits of healthy, high-performing schools.

Last month, the Center, along with United Technologies Corp., released the results of an independent, nationwide survey revealing that nearly three out of four Americans support federal investment in school building improvements that focus on creating healthier learning environments, saving tax dollars or lowering carbon emissions. Conducted by GfK Custom Research North America, the survey also found that one in three of the 1,000 surveyed said that the majority of U.S. schools were in "poor" shape. Only 6 percent said they were in "excellent shape."

"Americans understand the importance of our nation's school infrastructure and see the urgent need for significant investments," says Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of the USGBC. "Too many of our schools are outdated, woefully energy inefficient, unhealthy and negatively affect our children's ability to learn-and ultimately to compete in a global marketplace."

"A green school is an energy-efficient school-meaning less money is spent on overhead like heating and cooling and more can be spent on keeping teachers in the classroom and getting them the resources they need," says Sandy Diehl, vice president, integrated buildings solutions at Hartford, Conn.-based United Technologies Corp., and a Center for Green Schools advisory board member. "Investments in green school buildings generate positive outcomes in classrooms and communities everywhere. Investing in our school infrastructure today is an imperative."

This month, our cover story, "Green Education," takes a look at how schools across the country are turning to green building, both as a way to cut operating costs and remain competitive.

Also in this issue, check out the winners of the Metal Construction Association's 2011 Chairman's Awards, as announced at METALCON. In Green Scene, Associate Editor Patricia Brehm takes a look at the increasing demand for rainwater and rain catchment systems.

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