Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Local Leaders in Sustainability Report Released

ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA is proud to join The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in unveiling Local Leaders in Sustainability: A Special Report from Sundance, which outlines a five-point national action plan that local governments can utilize as a framework to develop and implement green schools initiatives. The report findings were unveiled today at the 2011 AIA National Convention in New Orleans and USGBC’s Annual Government Summit in Washington, D.C. The findings stem from insightful discussions during the Greening of America’s Schools Summit, held at the Redford Center in Sundance, Utah.

“The Greening of Americas Schools Summit marked an important first step in realizing that the environmental quality of our schools is essential to our future and long-term well-being,” said Martin J. Ch├ívez, Executive Director, ICLEI USA and three-term mayor of Albuquerque, NM. “As a result, Mayors and Superintendents came together to chart a new course toward healthy, sustainable schools where our children can grow and excel. We must now put this blueprint into action so that every child in America can attend a green school.”

The major steps outlined in the five-point plan include tangible action steps and are based on the conversations that took place at Sundance and successful green schools initiatives from across the United States and include: 1) Connect with the green schools movement; 2) Engage stakeholders and raise awareness; 3) Build community support and capacity; 4) Make it happen: benchmarking, policy and financing and; 5) Celebrate success.

“Through the greening of America’s schools, we have the chance to improve the health and education of our children, inspire future leaders and create a stronger America,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, USGBC. “Sundance was just the beginning. This comprehensive blueprint provides local policy makers and community members ways in which they too can accelerate green schools in their areas.”

The report also provides a comprehensive review of the benefits of green schools; a summary of local, state and federal policy solutions, leadership profiles of green school advocates, and case studies from both large cities and small communities. Together, these resources serve as a roadmap on the journey to green schools.

“This report should serve as a guidepost for many communities throughout the country that are looking for ways to implement green initiatives but fear the expense involved,” said AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA. “In reality, the average school is 42 years old, and energy inefficiencies cost it approximately $100,000 a year, money that could be better spent on teachers, education materials, books or computers.”

The Greening of America’s Schools Summit, held in November 2010 at the Redford Center in Sundance, Utah, brought together leading mayors from across the nation and their respective schools superintendents for an insightful discussion on the importance of a greener environment and educational performance. ICLEI USA partnered with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Redford Center, founded by Robert Redford to convene this impressive gathering of local government leaders and educators. The report can be downloaded free-of-charge from centerforgreenschools.org/actionplan.

About ICLEI USA - ICLEI USA is a non-profit membership association of local governments working to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and tangible improvements in local sustainability. ICLEI USA supports its more than 600 member local governments by providing networking opportunities, tools, resources, and programmatic support focused on climate protection and sustainable development. More information at www.icleiusa.org

About the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council - The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is how USGBC is making sure every student has the opportunity to attend a green school within this generation. From the kindergartner entering the classroom, to the Ph.D. student performing researching in a lab, the Center provides the resources and support to elevate dialogue, accelerate policy and institute innovation toward green schools and campuses. Thanks in part to generous support from founding sponsor United Technologies Corporation, the Center works directly with staff, teachers, faculty, students, administrators, elected officials and communities to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable places to live and learn, work and play. More information at www.centerforgreenschools.org

About The American Institute of Architects - For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org

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