WASHINGTON (Jan. 23, 2009) – The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) commends the U.S. House of Representatives for including $14 billion for green school construction and renovation as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. USGBC encourages the Senate to match this commitment to green schools so this investment can begin creating jobs and working for the millions of students, teachers and faculty in need of better schools and classrooms.
Specifically, the House version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contains $14 billion for the energy-efficient modernization and renovation of K-12 schools designed to improve the health, safety, learning environment and energy efficiency of our nation’s aging public schools infrastructure.
“This legislation applies a number of different strategies to encourage economic growth. It creates jobs that cannot be shipped overseas, encourages the growth of the green technology sector, and invests in America’s most crucial economic resource—our children,” said Congressman Ben Chandler, lead sponsor of H.R. 3021, the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act, which passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support on June 6, 2008, and was also included in H.R. 7110, the Job Creation and Employment Relief Act, which passed the House on Sept. 26, 2008.
“By making this crucial investment in our schools, we not only fix crumbling roofs and remove lead and asbestos, but put new tools in the classroom, giving American students the preparation they need to compete on a global stage. I am so pleased to have been a part of this bill and its inclusion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill,” said Chandler.
Last month, a group of leaders in Congress called on the House and Senate leadership to support green schools legislation as part of an economic recovery plan. In the letter sent last month to Senate and House majority and minority leaders as well as the chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, 28 members of Congress cited the importance of the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act to revive the troubled U.S. economy.
The Center for American Progress and the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in a September 2008 study, found that a national green economic recovery program investing $100 billion over 10 years in six infrastructure areas would create 2 million new jobs. A major piece of that program would include retrofitting existing publicly owned buildings, including schools.
“This bill would play a vital role in ensuring our nation is able to maximize scarce education resources by cutting school utility costs, all while nurturing student and teacher health, creating
an ideal learning environment, helping secure our nation’s energy future, protecting our environment against climate change and wasteful use of resources, and creating a generation of people who make responsible, healthy, green choices,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, USGBC.
Support for H.R. 3021 is part of USGBC’s wider support for public policy that would ensure green schools for every child within a generation. USGBC has worked with the energy and environment team of President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition team to advance green building as a key opportunity toward economic recovery.
“By their very nature, schools are an investment in the future, preparing the next generation of leaders and paving the way for tomorrow’s innovations. Because schools embody our hopes and aspirations for the future, we make an important statement about our dedication to that future by building, repairing and operating schools in the most responsible and sustainable ways possible,” Fedrizzi said.
For more information on green schools, including USGBC’s LEED for Schools Green Building Rating System, visit www.buildgreenschools.org .
The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since USGBC’s founding in 1993, the Council has grown to nearly 18,000 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED green building certification systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry’s popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org ), and a network of 78 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org .
About LEED for Schools
The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Schools green certification system provides green-building guidelines and offers third-party verification to assure schools’ stakeholders that their buildings incorporate the best in science, design and technology to make their schools truly green. The LEED for Schools certification program was launched by the U.S. Green Building Council in spring 2007 and has certified more than 85 schools as green to date. Additionally, there are over 745 school buildings that have registered their intent to seek certification. Visit www.buildgreenschools.org  for more information.
Contact: Ashley Katz Communications Manager, USGBC
1800 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
T: 202 828-7422
F: 202 828-5110