Green Building & Design is one of this blog’s main content categories. The following are some of the posts on green building-related topics that have been published on The Green Spotlight or on its sister site (M. Landman Communications & Consulting):

On green building projects:

On green products and materials:

On other green building topics:

A lot of new green building content will be added to the blog in coming months. These are some of the topics that we’ll cover in upcoming posts:

  • Green product certifications, eco-labels, standards, and lifecycle data
  • LEED ND certified projects: Update of completed neighborhood developments
  • One Planet Communities
  • Green operations & maintenance practices for households (and for building managers)

February 28, 2012
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Whether you’re a teacher, parent, school administrator, or homeschooler, you might be interested in taking a look at some of these online resources related to green/environmental education. These websites provide ideas for curriculum, lesson plans, and hands-on activities for teachers and students. Many of these resources are related to K-12 education, but some also apply to higher education.

Alliance for Climate Education

Sequoia Riverlands Trust environmental educationCenter for Ecoliteracy

Center for Environmental Education (University of Minnesota, Duluth)

Children & Nature Network

The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education

Earth Day Network: Educators’ Network

Eco-Schools USA (National Wildlife Federation)

Energy Education: Teach and Learn (K-12 energy-related lesson plans and activities, from the U.S. Department of Energy)

Energy Kids (U.S. Environmental Information Administration)

Green Education Foundation (GEF)

Greening Schools project (Illinois EPA):  “Green Your Lesson Plan” directory

National Environmental Education Foundation

North American Association of Environmental Education

U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools

U.S. EPA Environmental Education resources

U.S. Green Schools Foundation: Education/Curriculum

Outdoor education is an important branch of environmental education. The concept of “nature-deficit disorder” is described in the bestselling book Last Child in the Woods.

It’s especially important for urban youth, who may never have spent any time outside of their cities, to be given opportunities to explore and learn in nature/wilderness settings. At-risk and urban youth can benefit greatly from outdoor learning experiences provided by wilderness programs such as Outward Bound, as well as farm-based camps or programs like those offered by the Center for Land-Based Learning.

If you know of other useful resources related to environmental education, please share your suggestions in the Comments section below.

Related Post: Green Schools Resources and Links (mostly related to greening school buildings/facilities)


October 4, 2010

Green school buildings have multiple benefits and advantages, including:

  • reduced use of energy and water, and reduced materials waste;
  • lower operating costs, i.e., financial savings that can be used to fund other improvements or activities;
  • a healthier and more comfortable learning (and teaching) environment, resulting in better student performance (including higher test scores), improved health of all of the schools’ occupants (and therefore, fewer sick days), as well as more satisfied teachers and staff; and
  • new opportunities for on-site, hands-on environmental learning.

Whether you’re a teacher, parent, student, school administrator, or building professional, you may be interested in learning more about green schools. Here is a listing of many of the key websites, organizations, guidelines, and initiatives related to green schools, with a focus on school buildings/facilities (design of new buildings, retrofitting existing buildings, as well as the daily operations and maintenance of the buildings). Most of these resources are related to K-12 schools, but some of the information also applies to higher education facilities.

Key Organizations and Information Websites

Center for Green Schools (U.S. Green Building Council)

Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)

Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI)

Earth Day Network: Green Your School

Eco-Schools USA (National Wildlife Federation)

EnergySmart Schools (U.S. Department of Energy)

Global Green USA: Green Schools program

Green Schools Alliance

Healthy Schools Network

High Performance Schools (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

LEED for Schools (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Rating System, USGBC)

U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools

U.S. Green Schools Foundation

For information on getting financing for green / energy efficiency projects, check out these sites: the National Education Foundation/ U.S. Department of Education’s Qualified School Construction Bonds, the California Energy Commission’s Energy Efficiency loans, PG&E’s School Resource Program (for schools within the PG&E utility area), and the DSIRE Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency. For additional links related to funding for green projects, see my post on Green Tax Credits, Rebates, and Other Financial Incentives.

Examples of Local and Regional Initiatives

Related Post: Green Curricula and Environmental Learning Activities (i.e., environmental education)


October 1, 2010
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SCEC photo by Matt CarpenterThe recently certified Salmon Creek Falls Environmental Center is the first LEED Platinum certified K-12 public school in California, and it is also the first building in Sonoma County to achieve LEED Platinum certification. (The first commercial/non-residential building, that is. I believe that a private residence in Healdsburg was actually the first project to achieve LEED Platinum in Sonoma County.) To the best of my knowledge, the Salmon Creek Falls Environmental Center is the first Platinum rated non-residential building in the entire North Bay region of the Bay Area (Sonoma, Napa, and Marin counties). The Center is located on the site of the Harmony Union Schools (Harmony Elementary and Salmon Creek Middle School) in Occidental, CA, a town in the redwoods to the west of Santa Rosa. The building serves the school district as well as the surrounding community. It includes an auditorium, cafeteria and kitchen, and meeting rooms; and it has many green features, including a vegetated, flower-covered “living roof.”

Here is my listing of all North Bay building projects that have achieved LEED certification to date. And here’s a longer listing of green building projects (of all sorts, not only LEED projects) that I’m aware of in the North Bay.

And a quick update on the stats for LEED Platinum projects worldwide: According to my latest calculations (as of December 2009), 46 states and 12 countries (including the U.S.) now have at least one LEED Platinum certified building. China and Great Britain are the latest countries to join the ranks of those with a LEED Platinum rated project. Within the United States, California—with more than 50 Platinum certified projects so far—is home to more Platinum projects than any other state.


December 17, 2009
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