Theresa Spurling-Wood

Green Schools Committee Chair

Green Schools Committee

The mission of the the Heart of Florida's Green Schools Committee is to be the primary community resource for green initiatives in North Central Florida’s K-12 school systems.

USGBC defines a Green School as a school building or facility that creates a healthy environment that is conducive to learning while saving energy, resources and money.

Green schools benefit us all.

Students, teachers, and other faculty members directly benefit from healthier school environments, allowing the learning process to take place. Technical advancements in areas such air quality control, enhanced lighting and daylighting, optimized and automated temperature controls, better acoustics, and cleaner facilities all help to maximize attendance, improve teacher retention, reduce distractions and minimize complaints that often hinder the learning process.

Children in green schools (private or public) can benefit from higher student performance. Multiple studies have documented the positive effects on student behavior and performance resulting from green school initiatives.

Green public schools provide directs benefit to the community as well. Being green involves the responsible utilization of resources. Energy utilized to keep buildings running can account for the majority of a school's operational costs. Optimizing temperature control equipment for maximum efficiency, minimizing waste water, reducing the need for artificial lighting, limiting solid waste, etc. all have positive effects on school and county budgets, resulting in efficient use of our community’s taxes.

While the primary rationale for greening our schools are to improve the learning environment for our children, clearly the results can positively impact our entire community. Green schools produce higher student performance; create less waste, utilize less energy, and save more money than schools that do not embrace this philosophy.

Some ideas for Green School initiatives: 

  • Energy conservation –Energy conservation is the most common and has the highest impact on a facility’s bottom line. Today, buildings account for approximately 39% of the nation’s energy consumption and 72% of the nation’s electricity consumption. Conserving energy reduces utility costs, greenhouse gases, as well as the need for additional power plants. As utility costs continue to rise, many schools struggle with limited budgets and resources to manage cost.

  • Whether it’s new construction, maintenance, operations, materials, etc. the use of local resources minimizes the impact on the environment. Reducing the transportation requirements to move resources from raw material to final product to end user helps to lessen the need to burn fossil fuels in the delivery of these products. 

  • Minimize waste & pollution: Recycling plays an important role in reducing the negative impact on the environment.  Processing waste into reusable material lessens the need for new raw material and helps reduce land, air, and water pollution produced from landfills and incineration.

Additional Resources:


Local LEED Schools:


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