The U.S. Green Building Council and Center for Green Schools announced the top eco-conscious facilities and states of 2011 today, according to the Mother Nature Network. The council also develops the nation's LEED Rating System. The inaugural Best of Green Schools list was designed to recognize the environmental efforts of schools and to promote similar projects on a national scale. The Green Ribbon Schools awards recognized Ohio on the state level, Sacramento, Calif., on the regional level and the District of Columbia City Council as the top "green" policy makers, according to the USGBC.
Here are some facts about the award winning efforts of schools and entities.* Kindergarten through higher education schools were judged on sustainable cost-saving initiatives, number of LEED buildings, energy conservation and collaboration on green school policies, according to the USGBC. The council also notes published studies indicate green schools save $100,000 on average operating costs per year.
* The Sacramento area earned the Regional Award for bringing together Northern California school superintendents and mayors to create a $100 million revolving loan fund for green school retrofit projects. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is credited with leading the initiative, according to the USGBC.
* Ohio earned the State Award for registering and certifying 315 LEED projects in 19 schools. According to the Mother Nature Network, Ohio had more green infrastructure projects underway than any other state.
* Philadelphia earned the City Award for undertaking significant projects to make the municipality's 291 public schools more environmentally friendly, according to the USGBC. Lake Mills Middle School in Wisconsin earned the individual school award for being the first public education facility in America to achieve Platinum LEED certification, according to the Mother Nature Network.
* Convener honors went to the city of Boston for hosting the research Summit on Childhood Health and School Buildings. The series of meetings allowed researchers to investigate the connections between student health and school buildings. The public school district of Boston is also the home of the first Center for Green School Fellows. The sustainability coordinator will work to bring together staff and students to increase district green initiatives over the next three years.
* Collaborative honors went to a bipartisan pair of lawmakers from Kentucky. Republican Jim DeCesare and Democrat Mary Lou Marzian spearheaded the state's public school environmental efforts, creating a model for ongoing collaborative projects between the legislature and school districts. DeCesare and Marzian introduced a green schools resolution which gained unanimous acceptance in the Kentucky General Assembly, according to the USGBC.
* The University of Texas at Dallas earned the Higher Education Innovator award. The LEED Platinum Student Services Building was earned the Innovation in Green Building Award. According to the USGBC the structure improves department interaction, has terra-cotta exterior shades to aid in energy efficiency and was built for approximately $1 million less projected.