Department of Education Creates Green Ribbon Schools Program

The U.S. Department of Education announced on April 26 the creation of the Green Ribbon Schools program, which will recognize schools for effectively managing their carbon footprint through energy efficiency and green building initiatives.

The awards program for public and private schools will be run by the Education Department with support from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Energy is an enormous expense for schools. The US Dept of Energy (DOE) estimates that schools spent $6-8 billion on energy in 2000, and could cut $1 billion a year by reducing energy consumption 25%. 

The program will also recognize schools that are creating healthy and sustainable learning environments and teaching environmental literacy.

"Preparing our children to be good environmental citizens is some of the most important work any of us can do," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says. "It’s work that will serve future generations and quite literally sustain our world."

"The schools taking part in this initiative will help kids connect what they’re learning in science class with the world around them, allowing them to envision solutions to tomorrow’s challenges while living healthier lives today," says EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. "By making green living a part of everyday learning, Green Ribbon Schools will prepare our children to lead our global green energy economy."

"Environmental literacy is an important part of a well-rounded, world-class education," Secretary Duncan said. "Through the Green Ribbon Schools program, we’ll be holding up schools that are leading the way in teaching science and in ways that show students the importance of developing clean energy sources and sustainable solutions for the environment."

Applications for the program will be released later this year, and the first group of "Green Ribbon Schools" announced next year.

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