Going Green at School

A good example is the best teacher. With hundreds of kids in attendance, the best way for schools to teach students about being eco-friendly is to set an example. Many small eco-friendly steps will help schools make a big, noticeable difference.

Schools have a great motivation develop an eco-friendly structure. According to School Library Journal, schools that go green lower their energy usage by 33% and their water usage by 32%, resulting in a substantial money savings.

Being eco-friendly involves more than recycling and turning off the lights. Choosing eco-friendly technology, finding ways to use solar and wind power and exchanging textbooks for iPads are a few of the ways schools have chosen to create an environment that is better for the students, teachers as well as the environment.

What if your school doesn’t have the funds to go all out yet? Start with baby steps. Schools consume a great deal of fuel as they heat or cool the buildings. Adjusting the school schedule to create a four-day school week would allow lower fuel consumption on the three days the buildings are unused. It would also mean several days that school buses will not take a long round trip between students’ homes and the school. Fuel savings and less pollution will make a good eco-friendly impact.

Tons of papers go straight from classrooms to trash cans; many don’t even make it out of the room for the parents to see. Provide alternative ways for students to display their knowledge and eliminate much of the paper waste. For example, when students are assessed, the teacher could watch them write their work on a white board and record their results on a single piece of paper. Creative testing, using products like play dough that can be reused will demonstrate the human heart as well as a drawing. Work done on the computer can remain on the computer. Simply email a copy to a special e-mail the teacher has set up for student work. Another benefit of this activity is that the teacher has nothing to carry home; simply draw it up on her home computer should the need arise.

Do more than use both sides of the copy paper. Use non-consumable items. Instead of paper towels or tissue paper, students can wipe their white boards with recycled material or socks. Build a library that does not use physical books. 

When building new schools, Tarkington Elementary School is an example and a model for other schools. According to edutopia,com. Tarkington, located in Chicago, Illinois, has large windows to use natural lighting, recycled materials, and wood that was logged in an environmentally-friendly way. The building was a little more expense than standard school buildings, but the savings earned over the years may make it considerably less expense.

If you aren’t building a new school, have a specialist come in and tour your school. She should be able to point out ways your school can bet started to become eco-friendly. Don’t miss the greatest step you can take. Involve the students and educate them; future generations will be the beneficiaries.