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Greening Colorado Schools

This site offers information to all school districts and schools who are considering “greening” their facilities. Resources are provided to help involve your students, staff and community in helping implement earth friendly ideas, updates on what is happening around the country and links to the many agencies that are involved with implementing sustainable goals.

If you would like to contribute event information, have stories to share, articles of interest in the field of sustainability in school facilities, or any suggestions please forward to Cheryl Honigsberg

What's New:

2014 Green Ribbon Schools Highlights

SAVE THE DATE: The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools to tour Colorado’s 2014 Green Ribbon School awardees September 16-17th. Click here for more information.

Announcing our new Integrated Sustainability Management Certificate Program

We are very excited to announce our new professional certificate program - Integrated Sustainability Management.  We know that, in order for sustainability to take root in any organization, sustainability initiatives must be implemented using an integrated approach.  Whether you are an aspiring sustainability professional or currently employed to analyze, manage and/or direct your organization’s sustainability initiatives, this certificate program will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to implement integrated, positive change.  Participants can enroll in one or more content ‘badges’ (Organizational Strategy, People & Behavior, Optimizing Built Environments, Natural Resource Management).  Successful completion of all  four badges earns the Integrated Sustainability Management Certificate.  This summer we will offer live, in-class sessions for each badge at the new Powerhouse Energy Institute in Fort Collins, Colorado:

  • People & Behavior Change | Thursday July 24 & Thursday, August 14
    Jeni Cross, Associate Professor of Sociology, CSU
  • Natural Resource Management |Friday July 25 & Friday, August 15
    Lisa Rephlo, Slipstream LLC

Register Now or Learn More 

Simple Steps to Green Your School

Cheryl's Top Picks for June:

Construction Projects:

#69 - Commit to installing energy and water efficient fixtures for construction or renovations

#70 - Consider using alternative materials for new exterior surfaces (vegetated roofs with plants, pervious pavement that will drain water back into the ground)

#71 - Require sustainable purchasing for construction materials and improvements (local, recycled content, rapidly renewable)

#72 - Require sustainable waste management for construction and improvements (reduced waste, recycling)

#73 - Require air filters and other Indoor Air Quality management practices during construction

#74 - Use paints and coatings that have little or no odor (no Volatile Organic Compounds - VOCs)

#75 - Use adhesives and sealants with no VOCs

#76 - Use environmentally certified carpeting

#77 - Use certified wood that has been responsibly harvested

View All 94 Ways to Green Your School Here

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Colorado School's IPM 2014 Summer Meeting will be on June 30, 2014. Click here for more information.

Bugs of the Month

This month’s topic is Hummingbird Moths

Previous Topics:

Updated EPA Guidance on PCBs:

    • Updated EPA guidance on PCBs in fluorescent light ballasts (FLBs) for school administrators and maintenance personnel is now available on the EPA website. The revised guidance provides additional detail on the suggested procedures for how to properly identify, handle and dispose of leaking and non-leaking PCB-containing FLBs. The guidance also provides:  an update to the chart explaining how to identify and handle PCB-containing FLBs, new pictures of FLBs that show a side-by-side comparison of PCB-containing and non-PCB-containing FLBs, an example from HUD on representative sampling (surveying), links to the applicable PCB regulations, and information and links to external resources on the energy cost savings associated with retrofitting PCB-containing FLBPs, among other things. IAQ Design Tools for Schools

Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools (EPA, March 2014) 

Indoor Air Quality for Schools Newletter (EPA, October 2013)

Energy Star Webinars:

There are none currently scheduled

Mentoring Opportunities:

Opportunities to Assist with The Green Ribbon Schools Award Application

Additional Resources:

      U.S. Department of Education:

    • Green Ribbon Schools - The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition award honors schools and districts that are exemplary in reducing     environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates STEM, civic skills and green career pathways. The recognition award is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education (ED) effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices that are proven to result in improved student engagement, higher academic achievement and graduation rates, and workforce preparedness, as well as a government wide goal of increasing energy independence and economic security.

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) To transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) -  The Colorado Coalition for School IPM helps maintain a safe and healthy environment for students and staff and reduces exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Colorado State University, Colorado Department of Education, Colorado Department of Agriculture, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, school districts, and private pest control applicators all contribute to this program. We support the goal of the IPM Institute of North America -- to provide a road map for making high-level IPM a reality in all of our nation‘s school systems by 2015.

Why IPM?

      • Cost savings: The Business Case for Integrated Pest Management in Schools: Cutting Costs and Increasing Benefits 
      • Health and safety: IPM in schools and homes go hand-in-hand with asthma management.  Common triggers for asthma include mold, pet dander, and cockroach and pest allergens.
      • Sustainability: Green building practices yield savings of about $70 per square foot in energy costs and improve student and staff performance. Incorporating IPM into schools is a natural fit contributing to lower costs and higher productivity.
      • Did you know that you can ean LEED points just by adopting an IPM policy? Click here to learn more!


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment.
EPA's purpose is to ensure that:

    • all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work;
    • national efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information;
    • federal laws protecting human health and the environment are enforced fairly and effectively;
    • environmental protection is an integral consideration in U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, energy, transportation, agriculture, industry, and international trade, and these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy;
    • all parts of society -- communities, individuals, businesses, and state, local and tribal governments -- have access to accurate information sufficient to effectively participate in managing human health and environmental risks;
    • environmental protection contributes to making our communities and ecosystems diverse, sustainable and economically productive; and
    • the United States plays a leadership role in working with other nations to protect the global environment.
    • Click here for the EPA's E-Newsletter: IAQ Tools for Schools

Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE) -  CAEE’s mission is to serve all sectors of the Colorado community by improving the collective effectiveness of environmental education. 

Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI)

Established in 1921, CEFPI is a worldwide professional 501 (c)(3) non-profit association whose sole mission is improving the places where children learn. CEFPI members, individuals, institutions and corporations are actively involved in planning, designing, building, equipping and maintaining schools and colleges. The association serves its members through three key strategic areas:

  • Advocacy and education of the general public, including policymakers, on the efficacy of school design and student outcomes; resource for planning effective educational facilities.
  • Training and professional development of our members and others through current program, workshops, seminars and conferences promoting best practices in creative school planning.
  • Research and dissemination of information regarding the linkage between the educational facility, its design and student success.
  • Click here for membership information.

Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation (CWHF) - To ensure a wildlife legacy for Colorado through support of environmental stewardship, conservation of wildlife and the protection of critical habitat.

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