Green School Effort Goes Global


A worldwide network of schools that are designed, built, operate and teach green is the driving vision of the new Global Coalition for Green Schools, launched Tuesday (Nov. 19).

The announcement of the coalition, which spans more than two dozen countries from Argentina to Turkey to the United States, kicked off the 2013 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo in Philadelphia.

The new coalition aims to devise a shared vision, resources, best practices, initiatives and tools for building a new, sustainable generation of schools worldwide—and educating a new, environmentally conscious generation of students in the process.

Forum for National Action

"The Global Coalition for Green Schools is a unique forum to inspire national action that ensures our schools are healthy, safe and sustainable learning environments," said Jane Henley, CEO of the World Green Building Council (WGBC), one of the effort's sponsors.

Coalition members will share best practices, resources and case studies; provide tools and infrastructure to this growing network; and introduce programs, initiatives and campaigns that can be replicated around the world.

"We know that schools are at the center of life in many communities," said Henley. "By focusing on schools and all related aspects of education, [green building councils] now have a chance that’s of paramount importance to work with one another toward our common goal of green schools for all within a generation."

What Green Means

The coalition's nation-members will work collectively "to shape schools and communities to fundamentally change the way students learn about the world around them," the U.S. Green Building Council said in an announcement.

The council's Center for Green Schools, which recently crowned the Greenest Schools on Earth, is also a partner in the new coalition.


Partners in the new Global Coalition for Green Schools include the nonprofit Global Communities, whose education projects include a new school in the West Bank.

National members are tasked with bringing together influential leaders in their country’s green schools movement, including non-profits, corporations, community members, universities and government.

Because schools and definitions of sustainability are different from country to country, the new coalition has identified three pillars by which to define a green school:

  • Minimize environmental impact;
  • Optimize human health and performance; and
  • Foster a generation of environmentally literate students.

Founding Members

The founding national members of the Global Coalition for Green Schools are the Green Building Councils (GBCs) of Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt, Emirates, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Peru, Qatar, Romania, Singapore, Slovenia, Turkey and the U.S.

Kai Keene

Sang Yin Secondary School in Hong Kong, a model green school, employs the latest building technologies. In addition, about 100 students serve as environmental monitors and prefects.

The group also includes the EU-funded Sustainable Urban Metabolism for Europe (SUME) project, which focuses on making urban systems less damaging to the environment. The model of "urban metabolism" is used to study material and energy flows in urban socioeconomic activities. The concept takes in the behavior of urban production and consumption.

The other non-nation member is Global Communities (formerly CHF International), an international 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works with communitiies worldwide to make sustainable changes that benefit local residents. The organization, which works in more than 20 countries, was established in 1952 as the Foundation for Cooperative Housing.

'Common Pursuit'

“As members of the Global Coalition for Green Schools, we are united in our common pursuit of healthy, safe, resource-efficient schools that educate sustainability natives,” said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools.

BonJovi Hillary Clinton

The 2013 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, being held this week in Philadelphia, will include appearances by Bon Jovi and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“But what inspires us and keeps us humble is seeing how much we have to learn from one another. Our approaches to greening schools may look very different, but what we all desire is to give our children every possible opportunity to succeed.”


Greenbuild continues through Friday (Nov. 22) in Philadelphia. Events include Education Sessions, a Job Fair, the Expo, a performance by Bon Jovi, and a keynote address by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

More information is available on the conference website.


Tagged categories: Color + Design; Construction; Green coatings; Schools; Sustainability; U.S. Green Building Council; World Green Building Council

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