The Green Building category looks at schools' practices in building and maintaining campus infrastructure more sustainably. This includes committing to a specific design standard in new construction and renovations and demonstrating proof of that commitment in practice. Design practices should stipulate a high level of energy efficiency; strategic placement that makes use of sunlight both for lighting and temperature regulation; use of sustainable and nontoxic materials that have been sourced locally; and the diversion of as much construction waste from the landfill as possible.
Points are awarded for using high-performance design standards such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, the Energy Star building labeling system, and the Green Globes assessment system. Credit is also given to schools that adhere to their own comparable standards.
Equally important is the decision to renovate and retrofit older buildings to operate more efficiently. Renovating an aging building requires fewer inputs than demolishing and building an entirely new structure. Additionally, replacing select appliances or fixtures in multiple buildings with newer models can save significant quantities of energy and water.
- Almost half of the schools have green building projects. A notable 44 percent of the schools have at least one LEED-certified green building or are in the process of constructing one.
- Three-quarters of the schools have adopted green building policies. An impressive 75 percent of schools have adopted campus-wide green building policies that specify certain minimum performance levels such as achieving LEED certification on new construction.
- The average grade for the green building category is “C+.” For a summary of grade distribution for this category, please refer to the chart on the right.
Leading by Example
Three-quarters of the schools have adopted green building policies.