Vermont is a leader in both public education and environmental awareness. The state has seen significant investment in resilience and sustainability, reflected in a very high per-capita rate for LEED-certified buildings. Yet none of the state’s public schools have earned LEED certification. As the USGBC’s Vermont chapter, the Vermont Green Building Network (VGBN) has long advocated for green schools legislation. Legislators and school officials have responded by saying that declining enrollments and revenues make it tough just to keep existing schools open, let alone build new schools or implement green renovations. We have responded by encouraging an analysis of long-term savings and avoided costs, noting that it is too expensive NOT to implement green renovations for inefficient, older school buildings.
Through a grant from the US Green Council’s Center for Green Schools and donations from Vermont businesses and individuals, we have produced the enclosed “Vermont Schools – Green Renovation Guide.” The guide defines what it means to be a green school. It then goes on to explore case studies of two schools that have undergone green renovations in the state of Vermont. The first school is located in Craftsbury and is one of the oldest continuously operating schools in the nation. The second is the Sustainability Academy in Burlington. After reviewing the process of undertaking these renovations, we have outlined action steps for initiating school greening project in your own community. This information has been compiled into a guidebook and distributed to school districts around the state. You may also download a copy of the publication by clicking here.