Ohio Turning Tobacco Settlement Money Into Greener Schools


At least that's the plan, since they're securitizing their $18 Billion share of tobacco settlement money, and taking the $5 Billion proceeds today rather than the entire settlement over the course of the next 40 years. A genuinely bright idea, though it does break the promise made by his predecessors back in 1998 that a significant amount of the cash would go to prevent tobacco use, particularly among children.

So how will they turn the windfall into greener schools? Well, since the Ohio School Facilities Commission recently adopted the LEED for Schools Rating System as part of its school design standards it looks like they'll be using it to incorporate green LEED building principles into schools throughout the state by renovating existing structures and incorporating those same principles into new schools under construction.
That means that at least 250 buildings will be registering for LEED Silver Certification throughout the state within the next two years. And as OSFC Executive Director Michael C. Shoemaker points out, "The LEED criteria have been shown to have a positive effect on student health, attendance, and performance. While the state is sharing in the cost of the upfront construction, the benefits — including energy savings — accrue directly to the school districts participating in our programs."

Ultimately, it looks like a tremendously positive step for Ohio schools, and it's definitely nice to see the state government utilizing such a significant amount of money in a positive, green direction.

Though as we've pointed out before, often times there are unseen hurdles to school districts who want to build green, a great example of which is under review by lawmakers in Pennsylvania.

via:: press release

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