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Global Effort Aims to Upgrade Schools

Friday, October 12, 2012

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Kickstarted by the star power and reach of the Clinton Global Initiative, a leading nonprofit and several corporations have teamed up on a new campaign to improve school facilities worldwide.
Ridding schools of toxic chemicals often found in paint, flooring and maintenance products is one of the goals of the new Green Apple Initiative, spearheaded by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools and textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

 The goal of the program is to improve student health and reduce school operating costs.


The program aims to improve student health and reduce school operating costs.

With new support from the Clinton Global Initiative, the Green Apple campaign aims to provide healthier, safer, more efficient learning environments for millions of students.

‘Real Action and Results’
The Green Apple campaign kicked off Sept. 24 at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York City.

Established in 2005 by former President Clinton, the CGI convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges—or, as Clinton said, “to help turn good intentions into real action and results.”

 USGBC leaders joined former President Bill Clinton in announcing the Green Apple movement at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting.
USGBC leaders join former President Clinton in announcing the Green Apple program in September.

The annual meetings bring together more than 150 heads of state; 20 Nobel Prize laureates; and hundreds of CEOs, foundation heads, philanthropists, and members of the media.

The Green Apple commitment was one of many initiatives announced during the conference.

“No one benefits more from high-performing buildings than our children,” said Fedrizzi. “The recognition of Green Apple as a CGI commitment underscores the importance of providing the next generation with the opportunity to learn in the best educational environment possible.”

Day of Action

Organizers launched the Green Apple program Sept. 29 with a Day of Service.

The day brought together students, teachers, parents, elected officials, organizations, and companies worldwide to complete service projects at their local schools. The event offered advocates an opportunity to effect immediate change, organizers said.

More than 1,256 projects were performed from all 50 states and on each continent. The projects included recycling drives, building outdoor classrooms, garden cleanups, mural paintings, and renewable energy seminars, according to

Focus on the ‘Where’

“The conversation around education most often focuses on ‘what’ children are learning and ‘who’ is teaching them,” said Rachel Gutter, director of USGBC’s Center for Green Schools. “But through Green Apple, we are bringing attention to ‘where’ our children learn, because we understand that where we learn matters.”

 On Saturday (Sept. 29), volunteers around the world celebrated the Green Apple Day of Service with projects to transform schools into healthy and safe learning places.
On Saturday (Sept. 29), volunteers around the world celebrated the Green Apple Day of Service with projects to transform schools into healthy and safe learning places.

The center was established to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable and healthy environments, improving not only student health but school operational costs.

“We know how to create high-performing schools that save hundreds of thousands of dollars and provide enhanced learning environments for our children,” said Gutter. “But we can’t do it alone, and through the support of CGI and our partners, we are seeing change happen.”

Corporate Support

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will use its nationwide sales force to provide a variety of tools, training and resources to schools. The publisher will also reduce paper use through a virtual textbook sampling campaign. For every U.S. school that opts in to virtual textbook samples, the publisher will make a donation to Green Apple.

Other Green Apple partners include the building systems provider United Technology Corp., Interface, Excel Dryer, Armstrong and SolarCity.

As part of the CGI commitment, Green Apple is working with these partners to develop and deploy toolkits, training, and other resources.

For more information or to register for a Green Apple project, see


Tagged categories: Contractors; Energy efficiency; Green coatings; Renovation; Schools

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