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In Houston, LEED Schools Get More Than an E For Effort

We send our children to school every day and ask them to learn. They are, after all, the future of our world; and so we ask them to learn about right and wrong, learn about the world, and learn how to take care of each other. But do we want them to learn how to take care of the world, too?

That is what LEED Green Building schools in Houston and around the nation are doing. They are teaching the children, through example, what it means truly to earn an A for awareness of the environment’s needs. They stand for the future of America as a benchmark of creation care.

LEED Green Building schools are K-12 schools that are tailor-made to produce an environment safe and healthy for children, comfortable for teachers, cost-effective for the taxpayers, and easy on the environment. By addressing the uniqueness of school spaces and children’s health issues, LEED for Schools provides a unique, comprehensive tool for schools that wish to build green with measurable results. The rating system addresses issues such as classroom acoustics, daylight and views, mold prevention, and environmental site assessment.

In addition, Green schools cost less to operate, freeing up resources to truly improve students’ education. Their carefully planned acoustics and abundant daylight make it easier and more comfortable for students to learn. Their clean indoor air cuts down sick days and gives our children a head start for a healthy, prosperous future. And their innovative design provides a wealth of hands-on learning opportunities.

No longer must they learn through books about environmental safety and/or green projects around the world. Instead, they can learn hands-on at school – through observation and through practice.

Houston has taken the lead around the nation in building green schools. The Houston chapter is dedicated to showing school district leaders how the LEED FOR SCHOOLS process can benefit them. Other leading organizations in the area are also committed. Earlier this year, the Houston-Galveston Area Council joined with the Houston chapter to produce a year-long symposia to educate the public and educators about the facts and costs for LEED FOR SCHOOLS.

They ideally will have all their schools “Go Green” over the course of the next 10 years.

Other cities are following their lead. Salt Lake City, Grand Rapids and Seattle are all among the top cities with at least three green schools. And more are being built monthly. Both students and parents, teachers and administrators see the need and the benefits for green schools, and are lobbying for all school to change their ways.

For students and teachers, green schools mean reduced incidence of asthma, decreased absenteeism, improved academic performance and increased teacher satisfaction. For parents, green schools offer the confidence that comes with knowing their children spend their days in an environment that is both healthy and conducive to learning.

Green Schools get more than an E for effort. They are the bright and healthy future for our children.

Copyright 2009 – 2010 theLEED.com and Green Efficient. Article may be reproduced, unchanged, as long as it retains author information and linking.

Rick Walker is the CEO of Green Efficient. GreenEfficient is the leader in the LEED building maintenance and operations market. Primarily serving Texas, their LEED Accredited Professionals (LEED-APS) manage commercial facilities using their integrated services portfolio of LEED-compliant janitorial services, Integrated Pest Management services, HVAC maintenance, lawn care services, purchasing oversight, occupant training and USGBC submittal services. Offices in Houston, Austin, Dallas and Corpus Christi enable the most active Texas LEED construction markets to be covered by their specialty services. For information on LEED, green building and sustainable products, visit their blog: theLEED

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