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August 30, 2014, 8:14 pm

District on national ‘Best of Green Schools’ list

School District of Philadelphia honored for having five schools LEED Certified


The United States Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools released its inaugural Best of Green Schools honoring the School District of Philadelphia for the significant steps made toward the greening of the city’s 291 public schools in 2011.

The inaugural Best of Green Schools 2011 list recognizes school administrators and government leaders in 10 categories for their efforts to create sustainable learning environments.

As the “Best City” honoree, Philadelphia was recognized for making major strides along a path of sustainability with help from the Delaware Valley Green Building Council’s Green Schools Circle this year.

Accomplishments include the District’s commitment that all new construction projects be certified LEED Silver or higher, the creation of a plan to green the city’s existing schools, and the naming of Thurgood Marshall Elementary School as the first existing building that is LEED certified in the state of Pennsylvania.

In addition, Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School — a Title 1 school where 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch — made AYP for the first time after moving into the district’s first LEED Platinum facility.

“The School District of Philadelphia has made green schools a priority, understanding that healthy, high performing schools help develop healthy, high performing students. This recognition represents many years of commitment to building sustainable and supportive learning environments for our students,” Acting Superintendent Dr. Leroy Nunery said.

Delaware Valley Green Building Council Executive Director Janet Milkman shared her reaction to the honor.

“DVGBC has worked with schools on green practices for nearly a decade. The School District of Philadelphia has embraced green building practices more than any other district we work with — they are true leaders. We thank the U.S. Green Building Council for recognizing the School District of Philadelphia's leadership — it is extremely well-deserved,” Milkman said.

According to published reports, green schools save on average $100,000 per year on operating costs — enough to hire two new teachers, buy 200 new computers, or purchase 5,000 textbooks. On average, green schools use 33 percent less energy and 32 percent less water than conventionally constructed schools, and if all new U.S. school construction and renovation went green today, the total energy savings alone would be $20 billion over the next 10 years.

Mayor Michael Nutter commended the School District of Philadelphia’s green efforts.

“It is significant that with all of the demands on this large, challenging district, they saw not just the importance but the efficiency of investing in green schools. The students, teachers and administrators will reap the benefits for many years to come,” Nutter said.

To learn more about the United States Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools and see the complete list of Best of Green Schools honorees please visit