As a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), we joined dozens of volunteers who descended on the Daniel A. Payne Elementary School in Southeast Washington, D.C. for the second annual Green Apple Day of Service this past weekend.
Green Apple is a global movement to put all children in schools where they have clean and healthy air to breathe, where energy and resources are conserved, and where they can be inspired to dream of a brighter future.
The Center for Green Schools at USGBC is the organization behind the Green Apple movement, working to ensure that every student has the opportunity to attend a green school within this generation. Launched in September 2010, the Center for Green Schools builds on the leadership, partnerships and programming the USGBC started through its Green Schools and Green Campus campaigns.
Why it Matters
About 25 percent of the U.S. population goes to school every day in nearly 140,000 schools, colleges and universities. No one has ever counted the number of buildings, but thousands are barely built to code. Because of our work with Griffin clients Mitsubishi Electric U.S. Cooling & Heating and Broan-NuTone, we understand that clean air improves health, daylight boosts concentration, comfortable temperatures increase focus and improved acoustics enable communication. By transforming the physical environment of a learning institution, we have the ability to impact how students, teachers and communities engage in their world.
A green school serves as an interactive teaching tool preparing students for life beyond its walls. Studies have shown that green schools use less water and energy and can save an average of $100,000 a year in operational expenses. That is enough savings to hire at least one teacher, purchase 200 computers or buy 5,000 textbooks.
This weekend, we helped volunteers clear away years of neglect in the gardens surrounding the school. Trees were planted, weeds were carted away, new flower beds were planted and mulched, rain barrels were installed and painted and outdoor benches were sanded and given a fresh coat of urethane. A Recycling Fair was also organized by Green Apple in the parking lot for students, parents and the local community.