Smart Kids + School = Green

What educational systems are reporting is encouraging news for the green movement.  Today’s students think green, understand the sustainable movement and have some pretty constructive ideas of their own that are being implemented in schoolyards, dormitories and cafeterias on educational campuses across the country.  This adds up to a successful formula for educational facility managers.Elaine Aye of Green Building Services sees it this way; “This generation is all about preserving the Earth.  They’re aware from a social perspective and are becoming aware of economic issues.”  As the U.S. Green Building Council has discovered, sustainable designs, energy efficiency and green practices are only as effective as mankind makes them.  Using new-age lighting systems is a great design idea but it helps to turn off the unused lights.Kevin Folsom, the Director of Facilities at the Dallas Theological Institute recommends that administrators not be bashful about asking and organizing student initiatives.  “If they ask about sustainable efforts, they’re basically volunteering.”Folsom has found that student dormitories are a great place to start.  The Theological Institute begins their green initiatives during move-in week.  Starting the students off on the right foot reaps big rewards.  During orientation, Folsom leads educational awareness programs that invite students to participate and advises about sustainable features on the campus as well as shows students the savings their efforts can generate.The objective is to pull students together and to use a cross section of students to understand what sustainability is all about.  This year, students responded by prioritizing sustainable programs and then spreading the word. By looking “for things that are easy and visible with low cost and high return” the Dallas Theological Institute is reducing energy costs, recycling with vigor and creating an air of excitement for sustainable principles that should carry on off-campus.Folsom became enthused about sustainability on campus after familiarizing himself with the USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) program for Existing Buildings.  LEED® provided the basics for initiating green programs on campus.  The students have been carrying the ball ever since.

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