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Commentary..."Green" School Buildings...Brooks Rainwater

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As students return to classes throughout the region, commentator Brooks Rainwater says it’s important to consider in what kind of buildings those classes are being held.

Rainwater is the Director of Local Relations for The American Institute of Architects.

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Script:

I believe that green schools make a difference.

Green schools make a difference by improving student performance, providing healthy environments, and serving as valuable learning tools.

These schools save energy, resources, and money.

With the school year beginning, it is important to focus on our students and the facilities in which they learn.

Washington, D.C. metropolitan area school districts are doing just this. The district is requiring schools to meet green standards and is currently undergoing a nearly $2.5 billion school renovation and new construction program.

This effort is transforming the environment in which our students learn and is creating a new generation of school buildings that will be centers of learning for the next 50 years.

School districts from Arlington and Montgomery County and beyond are also making a difference and investing in high performance, energy efficient, healthy schools for our students.

Examples of these schools can be seen in Arlington County’s Washington-Lee High School; the city of Manassas’ Manassas Park Elementary, Washington, D.C.’s School Without Walls and Germantown's Great Seneca Creek Elementary.

These schools, and many others throughout our region, exemplify the power of designing green schools and the importance of integrating the lessons of these schools into the student curriculum.

We can design schools that prepare students for a more successful future. At the American Institute of Architects, we believe in the power of design and are approaching sustainability with a solution based approach.

Over the last three years, we have been working on a research project and a series of reports called Local Leaders in Sustainability. This project chronicles the good work of countless communities across America on green building policy.

In the latest report, we are working with the U.S. Green Building Council to focus on green schools.

Green schools are more than buildings. They are places where children learn the wonders of the world and teachers prepare the next generation of leaders and citizens.

Green schools improve student performance and promote the health and well-being of students in environments conducive to learning, while saving money through energy and water efficiency.

The Washington, D.C. region is leading the charge on green schools. With a continued strong effort, parental involvement, and community support, we will be local leaders in sustainability far in to the future.

As this new school year begins let’s all become advocates for green schools, so that our children can have the healthy, environmentally friendly future that they deserve.

I’m Brooks Rainwater.

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