This report, published by the Center for Green Schools, explores results from a national survey of school district staff, detailing how school districts around the country have continued to manage air quality within their schools during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The publication, co-authored by researchers with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, was developed with technical support from ASHRAE. It illuminates strategies and challenges from school districts that serve over 2.6 million students in over 4,000 schools.
Building on the successful report, Preparation in the Pandemic: How Schools Implemented Air Quality Measures to Protect Occupants from COVID-19 published in April 2021, this next iteration reflects how the pandemic, and schools’ responses to it, have evolved in the intervening months.
The Center for Green Schools' work on this report was generously sponsored by Trane.
In the germicidal UV (UVGI) school IAQ fact sheet, understand the three most common types of UVGI systems and what to know about using them in schools. Are they safe to use? Is there any evidence that they work? What type of systems should you consider and when? Learn more through this short and informative resource.
In the in-room air cleaners school IAQ fact sheet, sort out the noise about when to use an in-room air cleaner and how to choose one that works for your classrooms. Do they really work, or is it “pandemic theater”? What features does the air cleaner need to have so that it works for COVID prevention? Learn more through this short and informative resource.
In this HVAC filtration school IAQ fact sheet, get the facts about how filters work and their actual effectiveness in preventing the spread of COVID. Aren’t viruses too small to be caught in filters? What if your HVAC system can’t handle a MERV 13 filter? Learn more through this short and informative resource.
Use this IAQ Fact Sheet to get a better understanding of the interaction between ventilation and other strategies and how to use what you have to get healthier classrooms. Are windows really good enough for COVID prevention? What’s the best use of CO2 data if you have a monitor? Learn more through this short and informative resource.
This IAQ Fact Sheet provides a basic overview of the main components of school indoor air quality. Use this resource to understand the right strategies for your school, air change rate goals, and the benefits of improving school IAQ.
While important public health measures are debated in schools across the country, indoor air quality measures offer a non-controversial way to take concrete action to increase protection for everyone in school. In response to feedback from teachers, parents, school board members and others about the confusing messages they’re getting about indoor air quality strategies, the Center for Green Schools brought together dozens of experts to create simple straightforward resources about the most pressing topics.
The IAQ Fact Sheet Series is designed to help people without a technical background understand details about indoor air quality (IAQ) so that they can make important decisions for their schools.
Produced by the Center for Green Schools, with technical support from ASHRAE, this report details how school districts have used air quality measures in their buildings to respond to the pandemic. The report puts additional data behind the case for school infrastructure investment. Schools relied on their HVAC systems to make buildings safer for students and teachers, but in many cases these systems were outdated and/or not designed to support the recommended strategies.
The report is the only known national view of air quality in schools during COVID: what school districts have prioritized, which actions they have taken, how they have made decisions, and what the consequences have been. The responses cover over 4,000 schools serving over 2.5 million students in 24 states.
Recently-passed federal COVID relief funding opens up new opportunities for schools to make durable investments in school facilities that can yield health benefits and financial savings for years to come. This guidance can help school leaders understand the possibilities and make smart decisions.
USGBC and the Center for Green Schools advocate on the federal level on behalf of healthier, greener school facilities and high-quality sustainability education for all children. This brief explains the priorities for our legislative advocacy in 2021.
This resource outlines priority actions that state-level officials and elected leaders can take to support green schools in 2021 and beyond.
Asthma impacts one in twelve children in the United States and is a leading contributor to student absenteeism. Chronic illnesses like asthma may even increase students’ risk of impacts from COVID-19. Purchasing environmentally healthier cleaning products, filters, furniture and rugs, and markers and paints can reduce a significant number of irritants and allergens that contribute to asthma symptoms in school settings.
The Healthy Green Purchasing for Asthma Prevention Guidebook helps schools meet the health needs of students, families, and school staff with environmentally preferred products. The guide serves as a resource for all who care about healthy purchasing for asthma prevention at the school level.
This Getting Started Guide walks users through the process of accessing and setting up a school project in the Arc online platform. It can also be used as a reference for uploading and managing the school's building data available in Arc.
Use this powerpoint and speaker notes to give an overview of the Center for Green Schools' work to your school, district, or colleagues; or review it yourself to better understand our work and how we can support your green school initiatives.
Download this powerpoint presentation and speaker notes to help your school, district, or colleagues understand how LEED can be used to protect health, improve sustainability outcomes, and increase accountability during the construction or operations of a school building.
This powerpoint presentation is intended for use by green school supporters and advocates. It can be used to communicate the importance of green schools, why they matter, and what is included in a vision for green schools. The presentation includes speaker notes.
The “Green Existing Schools” training webinar series intends to provide green school initiatives to be implemented in existing schools by staff, parents, community members, and students. The series consists of 10 short videos and companion guides and addresses how each category of the LEED rating system can be addressed in existing school buildings.
The Sharing the Table Roadmap addresses the food waste problem in schools through a simple approach of creating and implementing food waste reduction and recovery programs. Food waste can be dramatically reduced and surplus food can be provided to feed the community, through well designed surplus food reduction and recovery programs. These programs function with two main goals: (1) to reduce the amount of food waste created by school meals and (2) to recover perfectly good surplus food to feed those in need in the community.
At the time of writing this paper, only 15 states and DC had legislation around testing school drinking water for lead. This report presents a summary of the 15 state laws, the research results concerning data and opinions on the effectiveness of the laws, and a detailed analysis of the similarities and differences of the laws. The report’s side-by-side comparison of the laws is a valuable way to start thinking about the properties of effective legislation around testing school drinking water. State legislators and advocates can use this paper as they consider new state laws to address lead contamination in school drinking water. At the end of the paper, recommendations based on the analysis of the report is given to the reader to advocate for prospective state legislation.
The highest LEED rated aquatics center in the US, the Niles North High School Aquatics Center is 39,204 sf and achieved LEED Gold in December of 2014. This facility uses 44% less energy and 42% less water compared to a typical facility of similar size.
Legacy Charter School in Chicago, IL, which is 61,123 square feet and was certified LEED Platinum in 2017, was created with its community in mind. Its sustainability program is rooted in citizenship goals. Design features include geometric shapes and bright colors, and the school has PV panels that provide 13% of the electricity load.
This project on the campus of the Grauer School is 9,196 square feet and was certified Gold in April of 2017. The new building has solar panels, a highly efficient HVAC system, and increased green space. In addition, the school devotes a third of their 6-acre campus to wildlife, native habitats, and nature trails.
Atrisco Elementary School in Albuquerque, part of New Mexico’s largest school system, was certified LEED Gold in February of 2017. This school has 300 PV panels and 27% of the recycled materials used in construction were sourced locally.
Originally built in 1931, the newly renovated Cambridge Rindge school is 403,393 square feet and achieved LEED Gold in July of 2013. This 1,700-student school lowered their operating costs by $335,000 annually.
At 158,960 square feet, Green Street Academy in Baltimore, MD achieved LEED Platinum in 2016. This charter school supports public transportation and has reduced overall parking lot area by sharing a lot with Kingdom Life Church.
Chapel Hill, NC
Northside Elementary School in Chapel Hill, NC, is 99,500 square feet and was certified LEED Platinum in July of 2014. This new school, built on a site that has housed a school since 1924, incorporates storm water management strategies such as a rainwater cistern and pervious pavements.
When Bay Path Regional Vocational Tech High School in Charlton, MA, renovated their facility in 2015, they reused 95 percent of the original structure and added 50,000 square feet and achieved LEED Silver in June of 2016. This now 249,393 square foot facility includes new science labs and a new media center.
The first public high school for African Americans, the historic Dunbar Senior High School in Washington, DC was certified LEED Platinum in February of 2015. At 276,000 square feet, this school ties in its historic roots with elements such as a solar array and radiant flooring to save $250,000 in annual energy costs compared to the average DC public school.
Lake Mills, WI
The K-12 first school in the nation to receive LEED Platinum under v4, Lake Mills Elementary School in Lake Mills, WI is 93,284 square feet. It is a Department of Education Green Ribbon School and includes a green roof and solar hot water system.
Outperforming the Maryland High Performance Program requirements, Edward M. Felegy Elementary School in Hyattsville, MD achieved LEED Gold certification in October of 2017. Some of the sustainable strategies for this 92,000 square foot facility include a green roof, bioswales, and access to daylight in 91% of classrooms.
At 160,072 square feet and 50 classrooms, Jaime Padron Elementary School No 2 was certified Gold in April of 2016. As a result of a 256 kW PV system as well as a new HVAC system, the school reduced energy usage by 43.4%.
Opened in the fall of 2015, Willard City Schools K-12 Campus in Willard, OH is a 233,000 square foot facility that has achieved LEED Silver. This campus incorporates natural light and open floor plans and features studios and collaborative spaces to support 21st century learning.
William H. Farquhar Middle School in Olney, MD is 135,000 square feet and achieved LEED Silver in April 2017. The design is optimized to support Montgomery County’s Rustic Roads Program, which aims to exemplify the rural and agricultural character of the area. Among many green features, this school has a green roof and 100% of its electric energy is wind energy, and 90 percent of its construction waste was diverted from landfill.
Woody Creek, CO
With 20,187 square feet and 130 students, Aspen Community School near Aspen, CO achieved LEED Gold in April 2017. This school’s recycled fish net carpet, in-floor radiant heating, and 39kW photovoltaic system support its passion for the surrounding environment.
Bowling Green, KY
Bristow Elementary in Bowling Green, KY achieved LEED Silver certification in June 2013 and is 79,817 square feet. It is 73% more efficient than the average Kentucky school, saving an average of $95,000 annually, and their decision to eliminate deep fryers and tilting skillets from the kitchen both saves energy and supports initiatives to provide healthier lunches to students.
Owings Mill, MD
At 94,900 square feet, Lyons Mill Elementary School in Owings Mill, MD achieved LEED Silver certification in October of 2011. This 715-student facility features a central media center that merges the indoors and outdoors at the heart of the building as well as a rooftop classroom terrace.
Glen Allen, VA
The first LEED Gold project in the county, Glen Allen High School in Glen Allen, VA is 256,000 square feet and was certified in July 2011. This building has a white roof and was designed to reduce energy use by 28% compared to standard construction.
The Hiukkavaara Community Center in Oulu, Finland is about 11,000 square meters, or over 118,000 square feet, and achieved LEED Gold certification in August 2017. The community center has facilities to accommodate 700 pupils, including grades 1-9, a day care, adult education, and sports. The center was designed with automated control of HVAC and lighting and eliminated irrigation to reduce potable water usage.
At just over 75,000 square feet of learning space, Waverly Belmont Elementary School in Nashville, TN, achieved LEED Silver certification in June of 2017. After the school was decommissioned by the school district in 1974, new renovations have restored the school into a fully functional, sustainable learning space for children in the city.
The Alexandria Area High School in Minnesota is a little over 280,000 square feet and achieved LEED Silver certification in September of 2015. With two new three-story academic wings, housing 36 classrooms and 12 flexible learning spaces for groups of all sizes, the high school put sustainability as a core pillar for the design of the project.
At just over 32,000 square feet, the Ernie Pyle Middle School in Albuquerque achieved LEED Gold certification in September of 2017. With a new two-story classroom and a one-story arts building, the school utilizes daylighting and an outdoor teaching area to maximize sustainability. Furthermore, after installing a photovoltaics array, the school now saves 14% annually in energy costs.
The Aspira Business & Finance High School in Chicago, IL, began project design in 2010 and finished 5 years later at a cost of $22 million, achieving LEED Gold certification halfway through 2016. At just over 81,000 square feet, the charter school accommodates 900 students in a compact urban site, utilizing green and white roofs while prioritizing materials for the building that are low in VOCs and recyclable.
Just under 280,000 square feet, Essex Technical High School achieved LEED Silver certification in March 2017. The sustainable school building is located near the sensitive Ipswich River, so it utilizes strategies to minimize its impact on the local watershed, such as rainwater capture for flushing toilets and irrigation.
In October 2014, the HAEF Preschool & Kindergarten building was the first building in Greece to achieve LEED Platinum certification. Just under 37,000 square feet, this facility takes advantage of daylighting and natural ventilation, with a green roof on top of the building.
At just over 20,000 square feet, the Career Enrichment Center Addition in Albuquerque achieved LEED Silver certification in March of 2017. Part of the largest school district in New Mexico, this project was able to save 34% on annual energy costs through its sustainable design.
At 85,000 square feet, Rio Grande High School in Albuquerque achieved LEED Gold certification in October of 2017. Part of the largest school district in New Mexico, this school was able to save 59% on annual energy costs through its sustainable design.
At just under 86,000 square feet, Marie Hughes Elementary School in Albuquerque achieved LEED Gold certification in the last couple days of 2017. Part of Albuquerque Public Schools, the largest school district in New Mexico, this school was able to save 68% on energy costs through its sustainable design.
Opened in the spring of 2014 and certified LEED Platinum the following year, these two new halls at the Mary Institute & St. Louis Country Day School add a combined 85,000 square feet to campus facilities. Located in Ladue, Missouri, the new facilities utilize thermal windows and PV cells, as well as display energy dashboards for their students to see the reduced impact their school has on the environment.
Hunting Valley, OH
The new 52,000 square foot Academic & Science Wing at the University School opened in time for the 2012-13 school year and earned LEED Silver certification in 2017. Located in Hunting Valley, Ohio, the new wing utilizes natural light, solar heat, and geothermal heating and cooling for the new classrooms, labs, and common rooms.
LEED Certified in the fall of 2017, the Grady Middle School Addition is just above 56,000 square feet. With a focus on utilizing natural daylight, the new addition includes learning centers, science classrooms, and an educational courtyard.