Photo via Greener Energy Ohio
The great "Green Schools Bill" has just passed the House and is now heading to the Senate, NPR reports--and its chances of passing are looking favorable. Which is good news: the bill would not only make thousands of schools more energy efficient and clean up polluted areas surrounding them, but it would create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process. The bill, officially the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act, is poised to pass the Senate after passing the House 277-175. As well it should--what's not to like? Healthier, greener schools, and a slew of jobs to boot? Opponents say that the measure is too costly, and a similar bill was passed by the House last year but then stalled due to a veto threat from Bush. But the bill is very much in keeping with our current president's aims: increasing energy efficiency, boosting education, and stimulating the economy--that's pretty much half of Obama's stump speech right there. And there's around $9 billion in the stimulus bill that could be allotted to the measure.
NPR offers a nice quick breakdown of what the bill would do:
The bill would provide states with money to make grants and low interest loans so school districts could build, modernize and repair facilities to make them healthier, safer and more energy-efficient.
And it's yet another of example of how greening a facility can lead to other benefits as well:
Supporters spoke of the difficulties of trying to learn in buildings with poor lighting, bad air quality, leaking roofs and ill-functioning furnaces. "Thirty-two million children in our country attend schools which are reportedly having environmental problems with their facilities that affect students' health and their learning," said Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat from New York.
Greener, more energy efficient schools and green jobs to create them sounds pretty solid--and with the stimulus funds already available, it's hard to argue that the investment wouldn't be worth it. This will be one to watch as it makes its way through the Senate.