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:
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.
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.
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.