Ohio among states to embrace green schools

Posted on Tuesday, 12/17/2013 6:05 PM

In the era of the Common Core State Standards, there's no denying the importance of skilled teachers and materials such as student software that can help K-12 pupils boost their academic achievement levels. However, there are other factors that may influence students' ability to succeed in the classroom, such as the environments in which they learn and the air they breathe. 

These and other conditions are directly impacted by a school's level of environmental friendliness. If academic administrators care about the quality of their students' learning, but have yet to consider the benefits of going green, now may be an excellent time to do so. As it turns out, many institutions in states such as Ohio have already taken steps to become healthier spaces for instruction.

Inside the halls of green schools
At many schools, green is more than just a color; it's a way of daily life. Environmentally friendly institutions are not defined by a single trait. According to the U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools, these facilities save energy, natural resources and taxpayer dollars.

In addition, green schools are learning environments where the quality of indoor air and classroom acoustics is high, while design features make use of natural daylight to cut down on the amount of electricity wasted. There is also a focus on expanding students' level of environmental literacy, as even the cleaning supplies used around the facility are considered to be green.

Ohio LEEDs the way
If schools reach a certain level of environmental-friendliness, they could be eligible for one of the USGBC's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications. Ohio has the privilege of being the state with the most LEED-certified institutions, according to a press release from the USGBC. Overall, the Buckeye State is home to 100 public school buildings that have achieved this green honor, thanks to the efforts of the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

"Since 2007, we've watched the OSFC successfully grow a program that shows LEED is working for Ohio - these schools are saving money, energy and resources," said Rachel Gutter, director of the CGS, in a statement. "Ohio shows a deep commitment to the well-being of its students, teachers and communities through the use of LEED."

Ultimately, healthier schools translate to healthier students, which will be essential as the instruction these individuals receive becomes more rigorous under the CCSS.

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