Environment-friendly schools are the green schools which by reducing water and energy usage, generate cost savings. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a framework for building schools that meet benchmarks for sustainability and is a standard for environment-friendly schools. It is also a certification which many schools seek to achieve as they expand their campuses and upgrade existing facilities.
Green Schools Alliance
To reduce the carbon footprints by 30% over 5 years and to make the campuses more sustainable, the pledge of Green Schools Alliance is being taken by many schools. Five million students at more than 8,000 schools and organizations from different states and countries are involved in the Green Schools Alliance program with a goal to achieve carbon neutrality. All boarding schools in India, usually take initiative in contributing to clean up the schools surrounding.
A large amount of energy Savings were yielded in this Green Cup Challenge by the schools around the world. To implement environmentally friendly practices in your school, you need not be a part of any formal program.
Students and parents can also help the schools in determining the school’s energy usage and ways to reduce it. The parents and students should take some measures separately from school to reduce energy usage and wastage.
Steps Parents and Students Can Take
Following are the steps to be taken by parents and students to make their schools green;
- Usage of public transportation or a walk or taking a bike to school should be encouraged.
- Carpools should be used to bring a number of students altogether to school.
- Turn off car and bus engines and thus reduce idling outside school
- Schools should be encouraged to use cleaner fuels like biodiesel buses or hybrid buses.
- Incandescent light bulbs should be replaced with compact fluorescents during community service days.
- Environment-friendly cleaning fluids and nontoxic pesticides should be asked to use in schools
- The plastic ban should be encouraged in lunchrooms.
- Trayless eating should be supported by encouraging students and teachers to carry their food and thus reducing tray usage. In this way, water usage will also be reduced as the lunchroom staff won’t have to wash trays.
- Students and teachers should be encouraged to use paper products sparingly by working with maintenance staff and putting stickers on the paper towel and napkin dispensers.
- Schools should be encouraged to sign the Green Schools Initiative.
How Schools Can Reduce Energy Usage
An audit of the school’s energy and light usage can be conducted by students to monitor the school’s monthly usage of energy. Thus in this way, they can help their school’s administration and maintenance staff in reducing energy usage.
The Green Schools Alliance provides a helpful tool kit to schools which include the usage of daylight instead of overhead lighting, installing Energy Star appliances and weatherizing windows and doors. Thus a proper plan is provided by the GSA program to reduce carbon emissions.
Educating the Community
Educating the community about the importance of environment sustainable lives and reduction of carbon emissions can help to create greener schools. The first step, in this case, is to collect information about the steps taken by other schools to become greener. For example, a school has installed a synthetic playing field composed of cork and coconut fiber that saves millions of gallons of water per year. While some other schools in India are offering classes on how to live environmentally conscious lives, and also making efforts in reducing energy usage by offering local produce in lunchrooms which are shipped shorter distances. Knowing about what other schools are doing in this context, students get more motivated.
Through newsletters or a page on your school’s website, regularly communicate with your school about the efforts you are making in reducing energy usage. Thus, more people should be involved to meet the goals Green School Alliance and help in reducing carbon emissions.