Green, High Performance Schools

A green school not only helps the environment and promotes health, but it saves moneyA high performance or green school is a school facility and its grounds that create a healthy environment conducive to educating and learning while saving energy, resources and money.

High performance designs embrace the concept of sustainability which requires an integrated, “whole building” approach that assess the total impact of the facility on the environment and community.

Features of Green Schools include:

  • Superior indoor environmental quality
  • Thermal comfort
  • Daylight and views
  • Excellent acoustics
  • Energy, material and water efficiency
  • Easy operation and maintenance
  • The use of the facility as a teaching tool
  • Environmental responsibility

Benefits of Green Schools include:

  • Improved health
  • Increased performance with higher test scores and Increased attendance
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Increased occupant satisfaction and teacher retention
  • Reduced environmental impact

In addition to new schools being built according to high performance design specifications, existing schools can be renovated to incorporate high performance features.

US Green Building Council (USGBC)

NEA and NEA Healthy Futures have been collaborating with the Center for Green Schools of the US Green Building Council for many years. NEA and NEA Healthy Futures are part of the Coalition for Green Schools, a network of 19 of the leading educational and health organizations collectively representing more than 11 million people.

A school garden is a vital part of a green campusTo help spread the word on green schools, the USGBC’s Green Apple Day of Service was created. The goal of USGBC’s Green Apple movement is to give all children access to schools where they have clean and healthy air to breathe, where energy and resources are conserved, and where they can be inspired to learn and dream of a brighter future.

Communities from across the world come together to improve K-12 and higher education facilities through simple service projects that have a direct impact on the health and performance of the school facility. This experience helps increase community awareness of sustainable learning environments by having groups join the Green Apple Day of Service project.

Get a GREEN Education!

You can obtain your Green Classroom Professional Certificate — online!

This online course provides pre-K and K–12 teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, and others with the knowledge and skills to:

  • Identify features that support or impede environmentally healthy, resource efficient, and sustainable learning spaces
  • Recognize, adopt, and implement practices that promote health among students and other school building occupants

With the Green Classroom Professional Certificate, educators can turn your classroom into a living laboratory, creating foundational awareness of greener lifestyles, energy savings, and environmental health.

Click here to learn moreA special discount is available to NEA members.

Rock some research!

School buildings impact student health and performanceThere is a wealth of research out there that connects school buildings to student health and performance and looks at how students breathe, see, hear, move, and learn. The Center for Green Schools has collected defensible research that supports the need for healthier classrooms and identifies the research that is still needed. This research will be invaluable not only for your own education, but also for grant applications and other funding requests, to take to school boards and administrators, and to use as you move forward on school design or retrofitting projects.