Making Green, Energy Efficient Schools a Priority

green-schools PSEG Long Island

Community Reinvestment Act can boost energy-efficiency, funding for low-income schools

The Hill, February 23, 2015

One in five Americans spends his or her days in our nation’s 140,000 K-12 schools. Those schools spend close to $8 billion a year on energy costs, the second-largest line item in a school budget after personnel costs. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 25 percent of the energy used in schools is wasted. In a world of shrinking budgets and resources, energy-efficiency savings in utility costs could be used for desperately needed funding for additional teachers and school resources.

Nowhere is this more important than in our nation’s poorest school districts, where the concept of a green, healthy school is rarely a priority.

Energy-efficient schools are now being lauded as places to be if you want to see improvements in standardized testing, and some studies have shown that students score significantly higher up to 20 percent if they attend green schools. In green school, school violence declines, teacher retention soars, and children and their teachers miss fewer days because of illness. Schools are already realizing significant gains from even simple energy-efficient retrofits. Schools from Utah to Tennessee are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs and improving air quality, which keeps kids minds more alert and teachers more engaged.

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