Zero energy schools have experienced exponential growth across the United States, leading a “net-zero” building boom. And they are going up in every sort of school district – urban and rural, affluent and lower income, blue state and red state. On average, zero energy schools can use between 65%–80% less energy than conventionally constructed schools, a significant contribution as the national K-12 sector alone spends $6 billion annually on energy bills.

There are now over 5,000 schools across the country with solar installations. These schools are saving money on electric bills, educating students about clean energy, and ensuring a brighter future for the next generation. And overall, solar projects at schools could deliver benefits valued at 4 billion.

In New York City, public schools account for nearly 40 percent of emissions from municipal buildings. P.S. 62 – The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground — is New York’s most environmentally sustainable school and first net-zero school. Hollis Montessori School is the first elementary school in the US that is a certified Passive House, and over 100,000 public schools nationally are LEED certified.  

And green schools have a lasting impact: research has found that children attending sustainably designed schools have significantly more pro-environment attitudes and behaviors.

Sustainable design in education building – the Institute of Environmental Sustainability


A huge city polluter? Buildings. Here’s a surprising fix.

By Brad Plumer 03/10/23
On cold mornings in New York City, boilers in the basements of thousands of buildings kick on, burning natural gas or oil to provide heat for the people upstairs. Carbon dioxide from these boilers wafts…
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City seeks developers to create solar roofs for schools

NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Commissioner Lisette Camilo and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced the planned installation of up to 16 megawatts of solar energy on the rooftops of 46 New…
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Saco ecology school creates green campus at River Bend Farm

By Gillian Graham 06/29/20
The first time Drew Dumsch saw River Bend Farm, he knew it would be the perfect home for The Ecology School. Nestled along the Saco River in a rural corner of the city, the 105-acre…
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Pomerleau aims for Passive House standard for new U of T residence

Pomerleau recently announced it has been awarded a design-bridge-build contract for the construction of a new residence hall at the University of Toronto Scarborough.
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Solar panels, smart tech and rainwater recycling: College and school buildings are going green

By Anmar Frangoul 06/19/20
The U.K. is home to some of the world’s oldest — and most prestigious — universities. And while these may be centers of excellence for learning, many institutions’ buildings were built centuries ago and are…
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Seven WLCSD schools receive eco-friendly designation

By Andy Kozlowski 06/18/20
Seven schools in the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools District have achieved Michigan Green School status this year, an honor that recognizes their efforts promoting eco-friendly habits and good stewardship of the environment. The designation is…
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12 Anne Arundel County Public Schools Earn 2020 Maryland Green School Honors

Twelve public schools from across Anne Arundel County recently earned Green School certifications from the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE). The schools are recognized for their exemplary work in environmental education, sustainability…
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Our top tips for an eco-friendly and sustainable school

Make green living a part of everyday school life by considering the environment in everything you do. From energy efficiency to recycling, here are our top 10 tips to make your school more eco friendly…
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The Green Free School in Denmark Focuses on a Sustainable Future

By Mary Jo DiLonardo 03/09/20
At the Green Free School in Copenhagen, students learn how to read and write and they study math and science. But the curriculum centers on sustainability. Students are taught how to garden and grow their…
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Building and managing sustainable schools: The case of food waste

Awareness on food waste generated at schools is low. Although pedagogical lunches are accepted, little is done to reduce food waste at school canteens.
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Kalvebod Fælled School by Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter

By Josephine Minutillo 01/02/20
The landscape of Ørestad, a fairly recent development of office buildings, educational facilities, and housing on the southern outskirts of Copenhagen, next to hauntingly beautiful marshlands, is an odd array of wide-open spaces—often without a…
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Scuola Colognola Ai Colli by Claudio Lucchin & Architetti Associati

By Beth Broome 01/02/20
Colognola ai Colli, half an hour east of Verona, Italy, is a quiet, conservative-minded industrial and farming village of 8,700. So, when architect Claudio Lucchin presented his design for a new primary school here that…
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BS = Battery and Storage. If you see no icon in front of an entry, it means the entry covers more than one subject.

NOAA upgrades site

NOAA’s Climate Program Office today launched a newly redesigned version of, NOAA’s award-winning, flagship website that provides the public with clear, timely, and science-based information about climate. The redesign expands the site’s already significant…

Climate Change is Our Generation’s Biggest Challenge

3 Million Students Educated on Climate Science, Impacts and Solutions    

Live green, think green: Sustainable school architecture and children’s environmental attitudes and behaviors

The study determined if the children’s environmental attitudes and behaviors are different at sustainable schools and conventional schools.

Greening America’s Schools

American Federation of teachers.

Green Schools National Network

Growth in careers within environmental and sustainability fields is expected to trend upward for the foreseeable future. This webinar will feature two school districts that are giving students opportunities to hone these skills.

Green Schools Alliance

The Alliance connects more than 13,000 sustainability champions across 9,000+ schools, districts, and organizations from 48 U.S. states and 91 countries.

What is a green school?

A green school is about more than curriculum, more than programming and more than bricks and mortar. It’s a school that supports global sustainability in every way. A green school begins with the future in…

Project Green Schools

13 Pathways to Greening your schools.

Buildings That Teach

Districts face the task of building and remodeling old schools. Every other facet of American life has changed over the last 20 years, and this task is no exception. Forward-thinking communities are taking a hard…


The Heights Building by BIG with Leo A Daly

By Suzanne Stephens   01/02/20  
You don’t necessarily expect the design of an American public school to be bold and energetic: perfunctory modern masonry boxes—usually one or two stories—seem to be a national default solution for this building type. Schools…
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Sustainable Schools Make the Grade

Tetra Tech’s High Performance Buildings Group hones in on the importance of designing sustainable schools.
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Sustainability 101: How to Build a Truly Eco-Friendly School

Here are some of our favorite ideas for building schools that don’t just protect the environment today, but lay the foundation for the next generation as well.
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5 ways to embrace school design sustainability in 2018

By Julian Owen   03/17/18  
Designing schools focused on energy efficiency will not only help meet budgetary and social requirements, but also spread a planet-friendly message
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Exploring Six Principles of Sustainable School Design

By Randall Fielding   06/01/12  
The science of ecology provides us with a marvelous framework for understanding sustainable school facilities. Just as ecosystems in nature are sustained by the biodiversity within them, high performing schools support a diversity of learning…
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Green School Design: Better For Health And Education…And More Cost-effective

By Gregory Kats   06/29/09  
A look at a new trend in school design that focuses on green school design to provide a healthier (and more cost-effective!) environment for students.
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