We are all concerned about the environment. Among other things, the green school is a trendy topic. However, it is not clear for parents and students how to assess the “green school” concept. In this article, you are going to learn which factors define how green your school is. You will be able to evaluate when you are just sold a concept and when the school truly cares for the environment.
The Main Factors that Define a Green School
If your school claims to be green, there is much more to it than planting a few trees. This is an integral tactic that includes:
- Actions to protect the students’ health.
- Initiatives to increase the students’ performance.
- Money savings on water and energy.
- The decrease of carbon emissions in schools.
- Less teacher rotation.
- Campaigns of the environment, science, and math topics.
- The creation of green job openings.
As a result of the previous actions, the daily student attendance can be increased at least 15%. A green school also is meant to increase the equity by giving the same prospects to all students.
Now you can assess for yourself how green is your school. Next, we will make a deep review of the most relevant topics about green schools.
Protecting the Student Community Health
This is both a result and an objective when you are talking about green school initiatives. Health concerns are many. It is a combination of:
- Food served at schools.
- The interior and exterior facilities.
- Transport services.
- Health and environmental education.
There are many programs promoting the improvement of school food. At first, it is meant to give a more nutritional option. Then it should teach kids how to eat. Creating awareness about food-related issues is also important. Themes such as sustainability, social justice, and health are promoted.
Air quality is one of the main concerns for interior facilities. The lack or scarce ventilation is common in non-green schools. This raises the rate of breathing diseases like asthma. Most green systems make use of more efficient technologies than the old-style HVAC. The payback comes in many forms. It includes energy savings and improved health. It all results in the reduction of absenteeism by 15%.
How to Become a Green School?
There is no manual on how to become a green school. Each school has to pick their own path. There are many movements and guides, but it is also largely recognized that there is not a single route to becoming a green school.
For example, the book “Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability” is centered in 4 basic guidelines as follows:
- Learn from nature.
- The community must practice sustainability along with the school.
- The optimal environment for learning is the real world.
- Living in a sustainable way is rooted in
As you can see, these guidelines are more qualitative than a quantitative approach. There are no goals regarding numbers. Each school sets its own goals on their way to become a green school. There are also recognition programs. Next, we will talk about them.
Awards for Green Schools
Recently, the promotion of awards for green schools is on the rise. In the USA, the Department of Education started a program in 2011 to award green schools. This program is called the GRS Recognition Program (Green Ribbon Schools Recognition Program). It is meant to promote that schools carry out green initiatives. It is divided into 3 different tactics as follows:
- The decline of the school’s environmental cost and impact.
- The advance in wellness and health programs along the year.
- The success of their educational programs regarding sustainability and environment matters.
Each school can apply in any of the previous categories. Whenever a school earns a Green Ribbon, their practices are shared online. By doing this, the government is trying to promote a green attitude in other schools. In addition, they should serve as role models. Their practices can be implemented in other schools, and the green attitude shared among the student community.