Stimulus funding for schools that pursue LEED certification may soon be available
Congress's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is proposing to help schools in the U.S. become green through stimulus funds for the pursuit of sustainable and environmentally-aware green building practices. The ARRA encourages school building projects to meet green standards such as LEED certification, or even install a green roof, by injecting funding into the process. This bill is currently moving through Congress.
Other green legislation for schools that is being set in motion is the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act (H.R. 2187), which passed the House by a vote of 275-155. The act provides $6.4 billion to schools for the 2010 fiscal year for renovations to make their buildings more energy efficient. Most funds go to school buildings that attempt to meet LEED certification, among other programs such as Energy Star Labelling. Separate funds go to schools damaged by recent hurricanes, such as Katrina and Rita. Many schools, like those in the Louisiana Recovery School District, have already pledged to build all new buildings with LEED silver certification. The Senate has not yet voted on their version of the bill, which is very similar in content, but with less emphasis on green projects.
Rachel Gutter, senior manager of the education sector for the USGBC, states, “This bill is a historic moment for us in the green schools movement because it has made real the concept of green schools in the public discussion.” Not only does green building renovation have a hugely beneficial effect on the environment versus baseline design, but it also helps guarantee operational savings going in the future. Gutter says that school districts in large cities are already working towards creating green standards for their school buildings, and that incentives for such schools come not only from federal funding, but also partnerships with utilities, who have been doing performance contracting to help out schools.
Find out about the ways in which the Goddard School is helping out the environment by partnering with Renewable Choice Energy and purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). See what your school can do!
Alternatively, find out more about LEED green buildings and how green power can be applied to your next project.
As I've pointed out before, buildings in the U.S. consume 78% of all the electricity required by our country, and schools are another source of this high amount of energy usage. Retrofitting them and making all new projects meet a minimum standard such as LEED is crucial in changing the way we have set up the structure of our society to be so energy demanding. The benefits of such actions have a huge ripple-effect that extends far beyond today, changing the face of the future and setting our country up to lead the world in terms of energy efficiency and environmentalism. The less we use and the more efficiently we use what we do, the stronger our sovereignty and lesser our demand on foreign source. And the lower our energy bills. It's a win-win situation. ~ Matt
Matt Kiszka is the Green Building Project Manager for Renewable Choice.