Archive for the 'Sustainable/Green Schools' Category

April 2009 Site of the Month: The Sustainable Sites Initiative

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009 by

The Sustainable Sites Initiative is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices. The information on the site is meant to be applied to sites both with and without buildings, including, but not limited to:

  • Open spaces such as local, state and national parks, conservation easements and buffer zones and transportation rights-of-way.
  • Sites with buildings including industrial, retail and office parks, military complexes, airports, botanical gardens, streetscapes and plazas, residential and commercial developments and public and private campuses.

The Initiative site provides a copy of the report Sustainable Sites Initiative Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks – Draft 2008, which focuses on measuring how a site can protect, restore and regenerate ecosystem services – benefits provided by natural ecosystems such as cleaning air and water, climate regulation and human health benefits. This report contains over 50 draft prerequisites and credits that cover all stages of the site development process from site selection to landscape maintenance.

Case studies, dates for upcoming presentations on sustainable sites, and information on the Initiative’s areas of focus (Why Sustainable Sites?; Hydrology; Soils; Vegetation; Materials; and Human Health & Well-being) are also provided.

Back to School: GLRPPR's Energy Efficient Schools and Students Topic Hub

Thursday, September 4th, 2008 by
GLRPPR Logo

It’s that time of year again. As students go back to school to focus on the three Rs, school districts and technical assistance providers may want to focus on the two Es (energy efficiency). The Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) has developed a Topic Hub on Energy Efficient Schools and Students that describes energy efficient practices and research available to schools and introduces resources that support changes in operations, maintenance, and behavior. Numerous ways exist to reduce escalating energy costs and this Topic Hub assembles guidelines and comprehensive energy programs, identifies educational efforts and case studies, and provides examples of best practices for schools. A “Curricula” section identifies energy related instructional materials and standards-linked K-12 curricula for classrooms.

New resources are continuously added to the Hub’s “Complete List of Links.” If you would like to suggest links for the hub or have other comments, please contact Joy Scrogum.

See the main Topic Hub menu on the GLRPPR web site for other Hubs maintained by GLRPPR and other Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx) centers.

August 2008 Site of the Month: INFORM, Inc.

Friday, August 1st, 2008 by

INFORM, Inc. is “dedicated to educating the public about the effects of human activity on the environment and public health.” Its goal is to “empower citizens, businesses and government to adopt practices and policies that will sustain our planet for future generations.”

The ININFORM logoFORM web site provides information on current projects, including Waste Prevention: Extended Producer Responsibility, Cleaning for Health, and INFORM Media, the organization’s effort to spread environmental literacy by “making strategic use of video and the web to reach a greatly expanded audience with critically important information about how to preserve the environment and protect human health.” Thus far, INFORM has produced “The Secret Life of Cell Phones” as part of its media project, with future videos planned to focus on paper, jeans, antibacterial soaps and single-use plastic bottles.

The INFORM site also provides publications and topical RSS feeds. New site features reportedly “coming soon” will include blogs and a “tools and calculators” section.

Check Out GLRPPR's Sustainable School Design Topic Hub

Monday, June 23rd, 2008 by

The Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) has developed a Topic Hub on Sustainable School Design that addresses many areas, including: indoor air quality; energy consumption and options; construction materials; education materials; water use; waste management; transportation; community interaction; landscaping and the building envelope. It draws upon the myriad resources available to school administrators, school boards, and community planners with the hope that these tools will guide the design of more optimally sustainable schools. The Topic Hub deals with the big issues of construction and retrofitting, siting and commissioning, and actual design of new and remodeled schools. Pollution prevention opportunities and alternative technologies that include lighting, acoustics, air quality, and well-being needs for students and school staff for a healthy and safe learning environment, are presented. Case studies and a glossary of terms are also provided, as well as a “Curricula” section that focuses on teacher training, classroom curricula for grades K-12, college and graduate level programs, community outreach, student-led community projects, and administrator education related to sustainable development and building design.

New resources are continuously added to the Hub’s “Complete List of Links.” If you would like to suggest links for the hub or have other comments, please contact Joy Scrogum.

See the main Topic Hub menu on the GLRPPR web site for other Hubs maintained by GLRPPR and other Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx) centers.

June 2008 Site of the Month: Illinois Green Cleaning Schools Act

Sunday, June 1st, 2008 by

This portion of Illinois Lt. Governor Pat Quinn’s web site provides information on the Illinois Green Cleaning Schools Act, which was enacted on August 13, 2007. Illinois schools began to be required to purchase and use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies on May 9, 2008, with the provision that they may deplete their existing supplies of cleaning products as of that date. The site includes a link to the text of the act, and the guidelines and specifications created by the Illinois Green Governments Coordinating Council for use by schools. Contact information is provided for questions regarding the act and guidelines, as well as a list of qualified supplies, an application for alternative qualification, an exemption notification form for schools, fact sheets on the act, and benefits of green cleaning. Links to alternative qualification standards (EcoLogo and GreenSeal) and other resources are provided, as well as a form for schools to submit their own stories regarding the implementation of green cleaning programs.

May 2008 Site of the Month: Campus Environmental Resource Center (ERC)

Thursday, May 1st, 2008 by

The Campus Environmental Resource Center provides comprehensive environmental compliance assistance and pollution prevention information for colleges and universities. The center was developed by the National Association of Colleges and University Business Officials with support and funding from EPA. The Web site makes it easier for school officials to learn more about applicable environmental regulations and ensure a safe and sustainable environment for their students, faculty, and staff. The online center provides information on topics including waste management, air and water resources, drinking water, and public safety. Viewers can find out what types of campus activities are regulated by EPA, see how best to comply with environmental regulations, query federal enforcement and compliance data, learn how to apply for federal grants, and e-mail comments to EPA on regulations under development.

Please note that GLRPPR Sites of the Month are now being posted on the GLRPPR Blog, and will display on the GLRPPR homepage at the first of the month. Sites of the Month from May 2008 on will be archived in the blog category “Sites of the Month.” Previous sites of the month are listed at http://www.glrppr.org/news/site_of_the_month.cfm.

P2 Go Bragh: Kiss Me, I Recycle

Saturday, March 15th, 2008 by

Cheers to the folks at Green Guardian for using the upcoming holiday to promote container recycling. GreenGuardian.com is a web site created to promote environmentally responsible purchasing and disposal choices among the citizens of Minnesota’s Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The site is sponsored by the region’s Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board (SWMCB) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and is organized into sections geared specifically toward residents, businesses and children.

I receive their electronic Green Tips newsletter, and was pleased to see them taking the opportunity to tie St. Patrick’s Day to raising environmental awareness. The lead story in the latest newsletter was entitled “Kiss Me, I Recycle” and is an obvious play on the “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” slogan you’re likely to see emblazoned on t-shirts, buttons and hats starting this weekend. (Incidentally, the SWMCB web site provides a handy “Kiss Me, I Recycle” St. Patrick’s Day button template for anyone interested in wearing green and simultaneously promoting green activities.) As eluded to in my previous post, there are likely to be lots of bottles and cans associated with St. Patrick’s Day festivities, and the SWMCB and MPCA are trying to ensure that folks consider recycling and are aware of how to properly recycle as well as what can be recycled. The “Kiss Me, I Recycle” story links to a helpful can and bottle recycling guide on GreenGuardian.com. The guide not only tells you what and how to recycle (which is strictly speaking, not pollution prevention since it’s an “end of the pipe” sort of activity) but also highlights the energy savings associated with recycling, as well as the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution, and water consumption that result from recycling containers as opposed to throwing them in the trash–all of which are important environmental benefits that are certainly complimentary to P2 activities.

This sort of campaign got me thinking about opportunities for similar outreach activities on college campuses. For example, I’ve heard that Mather House at Harvard University has a “green happy hour” for St. Patrick’s Day that involves the promotion of recycling, sustainability and waste reduction. I’m curious to know if other campuses have been involved in similar activities, perhaps on a wider scale. If you know of a “Green St. Patrick’s Day” event or promotion at a college or university, or if your organization, like SWMCB and MPCA, is tying environmental awareness campaigns to St. Patrick’s Day, please take a minute to share what you’ve done in the “Comments” section for this post.

Kiss Me, I Recycle

Technical Reviewers Needed for Two New GLRPPR Topic Hubs

Friday, November 9th, 2007 by

P2Rx LogoGLRPPR has developed two new school-related Topic Hubs as part of the P2Rx Topic Hub project. Before any Topic Hub is published, topical experts review its narrative portions for accuracy and completeness.

“Energy Efficient Schools and Students” describes energy efficient practices and research available to schools and introduces resources that support changes in operations, maintenance, and behavior. Numerous ways exist to reduce escalating energy costs and this Topic Hub assembles guidelines and comprehensive energy programs, identifies educational efforts and case studies, and provides examples of best practices for schools.

“Sustainable School Design” addresses many areas, including: indoor air quality; energy consumption and options; construction materials; education materials; water use; waste management; transportation; community interaction; landscaping and the building envelope. It draws upon the myriad resources available to school administrators, school boards, and community planners with the hope that these tools will guide the design of more optimally sustainable schools. The Topic Hub deals with the big issues of construction and retrofitting, siting and commissioning, and actual design of new and remodeled schools. Pollution prevention opportunities and alternative technologies that include lighting, acoustics, air quality, and well-being needs for students and school staff for a healthy and safe learning environment, are presented.

If you’re interested in reading the narrative portions of these hubs and providing some voluntary feedback, please contact Joy Scrogum or Bob Iverson. We’re looking for 2-4 experts to evaluate each of these new hubs; one person may evaluate both hubs if they desire. If you are selected to review the hubs, we’ll contact you with a link to the information you’ll need to read and further instructions. Your name will be included in the “Acknowledgments” section of the final published Topic Hub as a “Technical Reviewer.” See the Acknowledgments section of the Pollution Prevention for Arts Education Topic Hub for an example.

Our greatest asset is the technical expertise of our members and their willingness to share their knowledge with colleagues throughout the region. We appreciate your input and look forward to working with those selected to review these new resources.

NY: Guidelines for Energy Efficient School Buildings & Green Schools Summit

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007 by

The State Education Department (SED) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) have announced new guidelines to encourage the use of energy efficient design when building and renovating schools. These voluntary guidelines, known as the “Collaborative for High Performance Schools” (NY-CHPS), were created through a joint effort of SED and NYSERDA. NY-CHPS will help schools develop and maintain learning environments that contribute to improved academic achievement while reducing operating costs and protecting and conserving our natural resources. Read the full NYSERDA press release here.

The guidelines are available online to download in PDF format.

Note that NYSERDA, in cooperation with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), will be hosting a Green Schools Summit on October 15, 2007 at Farmingdale State University of New York. Visit the summit web site to register and view the agenda. Sessions will cover the NY-CHPS, as well as reducing exposures to toxic substances/green cleaning, working with LIPA to green your school, alternative fuels and emission reduction efforts for school buses, and teacher/student energy and environmental initiatives from NYSERDA and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Draft Great Lakes Mercury in Products Phase-Down Strategy Open for Public Comments

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007 by

The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration announces a sixty day public comment period for a Draft Great Lakes Mercury in Products Phase-Down Strategy. In fulfillment of a Collaboration Strategy recommendation, in April 2006, State, Tribal, and City staff commenced development of a basin-wide Strategy for the phase-down of mercury in products and waste.

A draft Strategy is now available for public comment at http://glrc.us/initiatives/toxics/drafthgphasedownstrategy.html, through October 27, 2007. We invite comments on the Strategy itself and on how best to move forward with implementation, as well as commitments from stakeholders to implement components of the Strategy.

A copy of the draft document was first distributed to government agency experts for technical review, then revised and distributed to a limited group of industry and environmental group stakeholders. A summary of comments that were received and incorporated can also be found at the above web link.

Please send comments electronically to Debra Jacobson at djacobso@wmrc.uiuc.edu. When sending comments by e-mail be sure to put the words “Great Lakes Mercury Strategy Comments” in the subject line.

If you have questions please contact Debra Jacobson at djacobso@wmrc.uiuc.edu or (630) 472 – 5019 (Phone).

Thanks to Deb Jacobson for submitting this information.