USGBC's Center for Green Schools lauds ten groups for taking the lead on green building education.
This student services center, designed by Hill & Wilkinson for the University of Texas–Dallas, is the first building in the UT system to achieve LEED Platinum. Automated terra cotta louvers, seen on the right, help keep the building cool in the extreme Texas heat. UT–Dallas was recently named Best Higher-Ed Innovator by the Center for Green Schools.
My first lesson in how insulation works came during high school physics class--but not as part of an experiment.
Our physics lab was in the chilly basement, and the "lesson" consisted of Sister Bernie explaining to a shivering classmate that we should all come to physics class with extra layers because "dead air is the best insulator."
It was the old admonition to put on a sweater packaged as an explanation of why putting on a sweater actually works: the air trapped between two layers of clothing is what really keeps you warm--not so much the cloth itself.
Green building across the curriculum
For so many reasons, school is a great place to learn about green building. This is true even if you go to school in a rather dark 1930s-era masonry building, but more and more school districts are renovating and building for high performance, increasing opportunities for great conversations on the topic.
For a really cool example of integrating green building and education for even the youngest tykes, check out this kindergarten building, where five- and six-year-old kids learn about fluid dynamics by pedaling a tricycle.
Center for Green Schools awards
The Center for Green Schools, a project of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), has started giving out awards for this kind of creativity, and the recipient list contains a few surprises.
Who knew that my home state (Ohio) was at the forefront of building high-performance schools? Did you know that Philadelphia is planning to make every one of its 291 schools green? And have you seen the really cool design of the student center at UT–Dallas?
Who's who in green schools
Read on for the complete list of awards--and check out full stories about each winner on the Center for Green Schools website. Congratulations to all!
- Best Moment for the Movement--U.S. Department of Education, for its Green Ribbon Schools Program
- Best Region--Sacramento area, for an innovative loan program for green school retrofits
- Best State--Ohio (Go Bucks!), for the largest number of green school projects under way
- Best City--Philadelphia, for making major strides toward an ambitious green school goal
- Best School--Lake Mills Middle School, the first public school in the nation to achieve LEED Platinum
- Best Higher Ed Innovator--University of Texas at Dallas, for its LEED Platinum student services building
- Best Collaborator--Kentucky General Assembly, for crossing party lines to adopt green school resolutions
- Best Convenor--Boston, for bringing together interdisciplinary researchers to study the connection between schools and student health
- Best Policy Maker--District of Columbia, for passing the legislation requiring healthy school buildings
- Best K–12 Innovator--Illinois General Assembly, for a private/public partnership to renovate three existing school buildings