The U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools has named Virginia Beach City Public Schools as the Best School District in its annual Best of Green Schools list. This list highlights schools and districts from across the country that excel in creating healthy and high-performing learning places.
"In Virginia Beach, we know innovative and sustainable learning environments spur our students' success," said Dr. James G. Merrill, superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools. "Creating and maintaining this type of environment is paramount to this division's success both in the classroom and in raising future generations of environmentally responsible consumers."
In Virginia Beach, current LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) projects total more than 1.5 million square feet of LEED building space. VBCPS currently also has 23 Energy Star schools totaling 2.4 million square feet of building space. While overall division-wide square footage has increased to more than 10 million square feet, VBCPS utility costs have decreased. Additionally, since September 2008, the school division has diverted more than 5,000 tons of recyclable material from the waste stream.
"Year after year, we at the Center for Green Schools continue to be blown away by the ingenuity and innovation of communities across the country and around the world," said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. "In these challenging economic times, we've seen out of need spring an even more impressive commitment on the part of schools, communities and leaders to make the places where our children learn healthy and safe, while putting money back into the classrooms where it belongs."
VBCPS also has developed programs encouraging sustainable practices including creating outdoor teaching gardens in 62 schools and has identified a Sustainable School Liaison program so each school has a passionate environmental advocate for programming. In addition, this past fall, the school division was a co-sponsor of the first Hampton Roads Sustainable Living Expo.
For more information about Virginia Beach's sustainability efforts, visit www.vbschools.com/SustainableSchools/
About U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building certification program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit usgbc.org and follow us on Twitter @USGBC, and Facebook at facebook.com/USGBC.
About the Center for Green Schools at USGBC
The Center for Green Schools at USGBC is making sure every student has the opportunity to attend a green school within this generation. From kindergarten to college and beyond, the Center works directly with staff, teachers, facility, students, ambassadors, elected officials and communities to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable places to live and learn, work and play. For more information, visit centerforgreenschools.org and follow us on Twitter @mygreenschools, and Facebook at facebook.com/Centerforgreenschools.