This site provides information for all school districts and schools who are considering greening their facilities. Resources are provided to help involve your students, staff, and community in helping implement earth friendly ideas. Visit us often for updates on what's happening around the country and links to the many agencies that are involved with implementing sustainable goals.
If you would like to contribute event information, have stories to share, articles of interest in the field of sustainability in school facilities, or any suggestions, please forward to Cheryl Honigsberg.
Opportunities and Announcements
K-12 schools have a special role in not only reducing, recovering, and recycling food waste on their premises, but also in educating the next generation about recovering wholesome excess food for donation and about reducing food waste to conserve natural resources.
“I know schools are already doing so much to cut food waste and educate children about food and agriculture. It would be great if we could get hundreds of schools to join the Food Waste Challenge and spread the word about these good efforts…and stimulate more!”
The Department of Agriculture stresses the importance of careful menu planning and production practices in the lunch and breakfast programs to reduce food waste and improve consumption of healthy foods. But even with careful planning, there can be excess food from time to time. USDA strongly encourages schools to donate leftover foods to appropriate nonprofit institutions provided this practice is not prohibited by State or local laws or regulations. Food donation has been a longstanding policy in all Child Nutrition Programs, as clarified in recent guidance from the Food and Nutrition Service.
To register your school as a participant in the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, simply complete and submit the K-12 form.
Schools across the country are stepping up to the challenge with innovative new programs such as:
- Using techniques listed on Smarter Lunchrooms Self-Assessment Scorecard to help reduce food waste
- Setting up a sharing table for kids to place items they are not going to consume (milk and packaged or pre-portioned items)
- Letting kids self-serve and self-portion
- Working to ensure kids have ample time to eat
- Collecting excess wholesome food after mealtimes to donate to food pantries (Food Bus is an example of a public charity that designs, implements and maintains systems by which unused/unopened, leftover food from elementary school lunches is saved and distributed to local food pantries).
- Using wholesome excess foods for classroom cooking projects
- Composting food waste for school gardens
- Collaborating with local farmers on composting or food-scrap projects
- Joining the EPA Food Recovery Challenge to work with an expert to measure and reduce food waste
Colorado Coalition for School IPM Current Newsletter click here
Are you implementing sustainable practices for greening your school? Would you like more opportunities to improve your knowledge of sustainability practices and access to excellent greening resources? Are you interested in attending seminars, webinars, and training sessions to learn how to make your school more earth friendly? See below for our regularly updated announcements and opportunities from all over Colorado.
U.S. Department of Education Green Strides: Let's Get Every Kid in a Park: President Obama has launched the Every Kid in a Park initiative to help get all children to visit and enjoy the outdoors. Starting in September, every fourth-grader in the nation will receive a pass granting them and their families free admission to all of America's federal lands and waters for a year. To make these visits easier, federal resources will be available to help schools and families arrange their trips!
The EPA'S Indoor Air Quality Master Class Series will be available for online streaming. The first two webinars in the series, "Creating Healthy Indoor Environments in Schools: The Knowledge, Network, and Actions You Need" and "Making the Case for Environmental Health, Academic Performance, and High Performing Facilities" are now available to watch On-Demand.
EPA Develops New Energy Savings Plus Health Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for School Building Upgrades: The EPA has developed indoor air quality guidelines concerned with energy savings and healthy staff and students. The guide is written primarily for school facilities managers, energy managers, risk managers, building operators, and school administrators to help them collaboratively manage the relationships between energy efficiency upgrade activities and infoor air quality in schools.
2016 Green Ribbon Schools Award: Every year the U.S. Department of Education uses the Green Ribbon School Awards as an outreach initiative to promote sustainable practices and resources in schools. The Awards recognize schools, school districts, and Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) that have implemented best practices and resources to reduce impact and costs, improve health and wellness, and teach envionmental and sustainability education. Find out more about the award by visiting the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award FAQ page.
The Colorado Energy Office's Energy Savings for Schools Program (ESS) Program provides energy management assistance and project implementation support to Colorado K-12 public schools, with an emphasis on rural and low-income communities.
It’s requires minimal school staff time and provides a platform for making connections and exchanging ideas with peer schools. Students can be engaged in the process, facilitating hands on learning.
Through the program schools receive:
On-site energy and water audits from a team of experts
Evaluation of renewable energy opportunities
Technical support and energy coaching
Implementation support and help identifying existing funding and financing options to get projects completed
Recognition for a school’s efforts and opportunities to engage students
If you are aware of any specific schools of interest or have any questions about the ESS Program please contact the program manager, Susan Blythe at: SBlythe@BrendleGroup.com or (970) 207-0058 ext: 310.
Simple Steps to Green Your School
Environmental Clubs, Classroom and More:
- #78 - Start or join an environmental club
- #79 - Participate in a green school challenge
- #80 - Organize a beach or park clean-up day
- #81 - Have a Green Team of student monitors in charge of recycling
- #82 - Set goals or competitions within classes, grades, or school wide e.g. least waste or most students walking to school, and award prizes
- #83 - Set up a fundraising program with proceeds going to a green fund to buy carbon offsets, a compost bin, a solar panel, etc
- #84 - Fundraising can include savings from recycling of cans, bottles, setting up a community collection center (for batteries, cell phones and/or printer cartridges), fairs, or bakesales
- #85 - Teach a green curriculum in classes
- #86 - Have a sustainability-themed science fair
- #87 - Take field trips to see how renewable energy works in action
- #88 - Calculate the cost impacts of sustainable building and operations (how much money does it cost vs. save?)
- #89 - Measure your saving results and brag about the school's accomplishments to spread awareness and recognition within the school and community
- #90 - Pursue LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification award to acknowledge your school as a green building
- #91 - Bring sustainability home to your family
- #92 - Bring sustainability into the community
- #93 - Participate in Association for Learning Environments
- #94 - Work with local GOODWILL on recycling and reuse of materials for class projects
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Resources
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Healthy Schools Environment
- Creating Healthy Indoor Air Quality in Schools
- Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools (EPA, March 2014)
- Indoor Air Quality for Schools Newletter (EPA, October 2013)
- EPA IAQ Webinar Series Available for Online Streaming
U.S. Department of Education:
Green Ribbon Schools - The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition award honors schools and districts that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs, improving the health and wellness of students and staff, and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.
The recognition award is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education (ED) effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices that are proven to result in improved student engagement, higher academic achievement and graduation rates, and workforce preparedness, as well as a government wide goal of increasing energy independence and economic security.
The USGBC's mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.
The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment. EPA's purpose is to ensure that:
- All Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work
- National efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information
- Federal laws protecting human health and the environment are enforced fairly and effectively
- Environmental protection is an integral consideration in U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, energy, transportation, agriculture, industry, and international trade, and these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy
- All parts of society - communities, individuals, businesses, and state, local and tribal governments - have access to accurate information sufficient to effectively participate in managing human health and environmental risks
- Environmental protection contributes to making our communities and ecosystems diverse, sustainable, and economically productive
- The United States plays a leadership role in working with other nations to protect the global environment
- Cost savings: The business case for Integrated Pest Management in schools: cutting costs and increasing benefits
- Health and safety: IPM in schools and homes go hand in hand with asthma management. Common triggers for asthma include mold, pet dander, and cockroach and pest allergens.
- Sustainability: Green building practices yield savings of about $70 per square foot in energy costs and improve student and staff performance. Incorporating IPM into schools is a natural fit contributing to lower costs and higher productivity.
- Did you know that you can earn LEED points just by adopting an IPM policy?
- Read the monthly newsletter here: September 2016 Healthy Colorado Schools Newsletter.
CAEE’s mission is to serve all sectors of the Colorado community by improving the collective effectiveness of environmental education.
Established in 1921, formally CEFPI, is a worldwide professional 501 (c)(3) non-profit association whose sole mission is improving the places in which children learn. Association for Learning Environment members, individuals, institutions, and corporations are actively involved in planning, designing, building, equipping, and maintaining schools and colleges. The association serves its members through three key strategic areas:
- Advocacy and education of the general public, including policymakers, on the efficacy of school design and student outcomes as well as resources for planning effective educational facilities
- Training and professional development of our members and others through current program, workshops, seminars, and conferences promoting best practices in creative school planning
- Research and dissemination of information regarding the linkage between the educational facility, its design, and student success
- Rocky Mountain Chapter
- Association for Learning Environments Membership Information
CWHF's mission is to ensure a wildlife legacy for Colorado through support of environmental stewardship, conservation of wildlife, and the protection of critical habitats.
Colorado State University is recognized globally for its green initiatives, clean energy research, and sustainability efforts.