U.S. Green Building Council Targets Climate Emissions from School Buildings

U.S. Green Building Council Targets Climate Emissions from School Buildings

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), along with the Turner Corporation and Haverford College, has announced a series of commitments aimed at transforming the way buildings in schools across the United States are designed and operated in order to reduce their energy consumption, environmental impact, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The announcement took place at the recent Clinton Global Initiative Conference in New York City.

The Clinton Global Initiative Conference is a nonpartisan conference that brought together a diverse and select group of current and former heads of state, business leaders, noteworthy academicians, and key NGO representatives participating in a series of dynamic interactive workshops. The group strategized on the best methods to reduce poverty; implement new business strategies and technologies to combat climate change; and strengthen governance.

During the Climate Change track at the conference, USGBC president Rick Fedrizzi announced its sponsorship, with The Turner Corporation, of a series of green building conferences promoting sustainable design and construction in education within the next academic year.

"The green building construction market has grown from zero in 2000 to $33 billion at the end of 2004," said Fedrizzi. "In schools, green design has been credited with reducing operating costs, cutting absenteeism and promoting knowledge retention. With numbers like these, we can't ignore the importance of green buildings in our educational system."

The Turner Corporation and Haverford College also made important commitment announcements at the conference. Turner Corporation, represented by Chairman and CEO Thomas C. Leppert, announced they will host and fund the first green building conference, "Greening the Schools" to be held on October 24 in Washington, DC. Turner Corporation has completed or has under contract 130 green projects valued at $9 billion. Turner is one of the nation's leading construction firms and has made an organization-wide commitment to sustainability.

Haverford College, represented by president Tom Tritton, committed to greening their existing buildings on campus and instituted a campus-wide challenge to reduce energy use. Haverford has a long standing commitment to sustainability. In October 2005, Haverford will open a new 100,000 square foot athletic facility that will be the largest athletic building in the U.S. to achieve certification under the Council's LEED Green Building Rating System. In the past two years, the student body has successfully organized and implemented campaigns to reduce campus electricity consumption by approximately 30,000 KWh per month, saving almost 20 metric tons of CO2 per month.

The USGBC created the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System. The William J. Clinton Presidential Library is among nearly 300 other projects that have been certified under LEED.