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USGBC Selects Sacramento City Unified School District as Recipient of New Center for Green Schools Fellowship Program

Rachel Gutter speaking to Greenwise audience about the fellowship program.

Director of the Center for Green Schools Rachel Gutter announces Fellowship at Greenwise Meeting.


Mayor Johnson Announces City’s Participation in the

Program at the Final ‘Greenwise’ Meeting

The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the City of Sacramento announced today that the Sacramento City Unified School District will be one of the first to obtain a Center for Green Schools Fellow.

The USGBC program will place these fully funded, full-time sustainability officers in school districts across the country. The Fellows are charged to work with school district leadership to provide clear direction, comprehensive training and valuable resources toward greening the district’s school buildings.

Thanks to generous support from the Center for Green Schools at USGBC’s Founding Sponsor United Technologies Corp. (UTC), Sacramento’s Center for Green Schools UTC Fellow will have the opportunity to positively and permanently transform the policies, practices and culture across the school district. The Fellow will be chosen through a rigorous application process and be placed in the school district for a three-year term prior to the start of the 2011-2012 school year.

“Through Sacramento’s Greenwise Regional Action Plan, we have set a lofty goal of becoming the greenest region in the country – to be known as Emerald Valley – and a large part of this commitment is to green our schools and to provide our students with a safe, healthy and welcoming environment,” said Mayor Kevin Johnson. “This unique opportunity from the U.S. Green Building Council and United Technologies Corp. to be the recipient of an on-the-ground Sustainability Director will better equip Sacramento in its work to achieve green schools throughout our district.”

One of the goals of the Greenwise Action Plan is to retrofit 15 million sq. ft. of school facilities in the next 10 years to reduce water and energy usage by 20 percent.

The Center for Green Schools Fellowship program was established as a result of a 2008 pilot program in which USGBC placed an employee on the ground in the Katrina-stricken Recovery School District in New Orleans. The dedicated coordinator was successful in providing the support and expertise needed to rebuild the community’s devastated school infrastructure. The Recovery School District now has fully embraced environmentally sound practices, and more than 15 LEED®-certified or registered schools are now open or under construction. Tremendous improvements have been made to facility operations and maintenance practices.

Through the Center for Green Schools, USGBC is dedicated to replicating this example of district-wide transformation by partnering with school districts, elected and appointed officials and funders to expand the Center for Green Schools Fellowship program. The program ensures school districts have the tools and resources to not only implement improvements to facilities and operations, but to sustain these improvements over the years.

“We established the Center for Green Schools at USGBC to work toward a bold mission of green schools for everyone within this generation, and the Green Schools Fellowship program allows us to reach school districts directly to work toward this important goal,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC. “USGBC is working to grow this program in school districts throughout the country, and the City of Sacramento, under Mayor Johnson’s leadership and commitment toward sustainability, is a perfect district to help launch the program.”

The Fellows will work with their school district to initiate and/or accelerate various initiatives that the district may have been unable to move forward, such as: monitoring energy usage and decreasing consumption by educating staff and students, disseminating environmental curriculum resources, establishing indoor air quality policies and practices, revising maintenance and transportation contracts and improving recycling, school garden and composting programs. The sweeping improvements that result from having a single individual organize system-wide sustainability efforts will affect thousands of children, teachers and staff, as well as the surrounding community.

Each Fellow in the program will be jointly overseen by the Center for Green Schools and the participating school district. Individual districts will define their own metrics for success, and Fellows will be required to report and document their progress quarterly. The Fellows will regularly communicate with one other to share lessons learned, successes and challenges faced by their respective school districts as they attempt to green schools and educate communities.

"United Technologies is proud to support the Center for Green Schools Fellowship program, which will accelerate the greening of existing and newly constructed American schools. This program also will help educate our next generation of leaders about the importance of creating a sustainable society, especially through its buildings," said Sandy Diehl, Vice President, Integrated Buildings Solutions, for United Technologies, which provides energy-efficient building systems through its Carrier, Otis and UTC Fire & Security units.