USGBC Center for Green Schools releases "Best of Green Schools 2011" list

December 12, 2011

The U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Center for Green Schools, working in conjunction with a founding sponsor, released its inaugural Best of Green Schools 2011 list. This recognized administrators and government leaders in 10 categories for their efforts in creating sustainable learning environments.

Recipient schools and regions from across the nation, ranging from K-12 to institutions of higher education, were recognized for a variety of sustainable, cost-cutting measures. These included energy conservation, record numbers of Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings and collaborative platforms and policies to green U.S. school infrastructure, according to the release.

"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.

The USGBC published several reports that indicated significant savings for energy efficient buildings, as operating costs were lowered as well as the carbon footprint for these institutions. Gutter went on to note that exposing students to green ideas would help to create a new generation of leaders.

"Tomorrow's future leaders are in school today," said Gutter. "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."

One of the big winners on the USGBC list was the city of Philadelphia. It won the award among cities for making significant strides in 2011 toward the greening of its 291 public schools.

Philadelphia has remained at the center of a new push for energy efficient buildings, as an innovation hub that was designated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is headquartered at the historic Philadelphia Navy Yard.

The Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC) received $122 million from the DOE to create a hub to develop innovative energy efficient building technologies, designs and systems.

The GPIC operates in the Greater Philadelphia region and will use the area's substantial building stock to validate and deploy discoveries that are made at the innovation hub. The technologies that are used at the regional level may have a broader national impact.