Green Schools Pillars and Elements

The Green School Pillars and Elements help to define the characteristics of programs that create a green school.  You may already be participating in green school initiatives, although they may be worded differently. They are:

  1. Reduced Environmental Impact and Costs
    • Reduced or eliminated greenhouse gas emissions, using an energy audit or emissions inventory and reduction plan, cost-effective energy efficiency improvements, conservation measures, and/or on-site renewable energy and/or purchase of green power;
    • Improved water quality, efficiency, and conservation;
    • Reduced solid and hazardous waste production through increased recycling and composting, reduced consumption, and improved management, reduction, or elimination of hazardous waste; and
    • Expanded use of alternative transportation, through active promotion of locally-available, energy-efficient options and implementation of alternative transportation supportive projects and policies.
  2. Improved Health and Wellness
    • High standards of coordinated school health, including health, nutrition, and outdoor physical education; health, counseling, and psychological services for both students and staff; family community involvement; and an integrated school environmental health program that considers occupant health and safety in all design, construction, renovation, operations, and maintenance of facilities and grounds.
  3. Effective Environmental and Sustainability Education
    • Interdisciplinary learning about the key relationships between dynamic environmental, energy, and human systems;
    • Use of the environment and sustainability to develop STEM content knowledge and thinking skills to prepare graduates for the 21st century technology-driven economy; 
    • Development of civic engagement knowledge and skills and students’ application of such knowledge and skills to address sustainability issues in their community.