Economic Crunch Hits Schools Efforts to Go Green


When we recently pointed out the potential effects of a weakening economy on the growing green movement, people took notice. And it seems the pinch can already be felt in school districts as limited funds must often be spread across a variety of worthy projects, both environmentally and educationally focused.

Unfortunately, "The bottom line is, the greener it is the more expensive it is," according to Joe Hoffman, director of maintenance and operations with Irvine Unified Schools in California.

But that's not the only problem schools face...
Because to complicate matters, Kent Ramseyer, energy manager for the Newport-Mesa School District points out that conservation programs such as delaying work hours until the afternoon or at night do not translate well in the education world either. Meaning savings that could be realized through a simple change in schedule often don't find their way into schools from the private sector.

Fortunately there are many things that schools can be doing that often don't cost a penny. With various schools engaged in everything from recycling programs, composting, and the creation of school gardens to putting together a student energy task force to help find ways to cut energy bills on a daily basis being just some of them. And the inaugural move-out campaign organized at NYU this weekend is another amazing example of steps that can be taken on campus to make a difference and costs little or nothing to institute.

But the simple truth is that a birds-eye view of the efforts to green America's schools reveals they resemble much more of a patchwork quilt than the fruits of a well-designed plan. And with difficult economic times ahead I believe our next President would do well to make the creation of a more unified and funded green schools plan a priority along with the establishment of benchmarks for environmental sustainability that every school must meet.

Perhaps the folks at Greensburg High School could serve as a model. The sense of enthusiasm for rebuilding that lost school in Kansas as a beacon for sustainable school design is simply remarkable.

Check out these TH Interviews:

Randy Fulton, Principal of Greensburg High School
Tyler Schmidt, Student at Greensburg High School

via: OC Register

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