The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council and American Institute of Architects, Washington, have unveiled “Local Leaders in Sustainability: A Special Report from Sundance,” which outlines a five-point national action plan mayors and local leaders can use as a framework to develop and implement green schools initiatives. The report stems from outcomes at the Greening of America’s Schools Summit, which took place in November 2010 at the Redford Conference Center in Sundance, Utah. The five steps are: connect with the green schools movement; engage stakeholders and raise awareness; build community support and capacity; make it happen: benchmarking, policy and financing; and celebrate success. The report also provides a review of the benefits of green schools; a summary of local, state and federal policy solutions; leadership profiles of green school advocates; and case studies from large cities and small communities. “This report should serve as a guidepost for many communities throughout the country that are looking for ways to implement green initiatives but fear the expense involved,” says AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA. “In reality, the average school is 42 years old and energy inefficiencies cost us approximately $100,000 a year.” For more information and to download the report for free, visit centerforgreenschools.org/actionplan.
In other USGBC news, LEED for Healthcare was introduced in April at the CleanMed conference. The rating system guides the design and construction of new buildings and major renovations of existing buildings. It can be applied to inpatient, outpatient and licensed long-term care facilities, medical offices, assisted living facilities and medical education and research centers. The LEED for Healthcare rating system represents a culmination of close collaboration between the Green Guide for Healthcare (GGHC), a project of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems and Health Care Without Harm, and USGBC. The GGHC pilot launched in 2007, and feedback from the projects helped inform the creation of LEED for Healthcare. The system addresses process water use related to medical equipment, rural facility locations, patient populations, often with compromised immune systems, sensitive to chemicals and pollutants, patient and staff health and many other issues that are unique to this building type. “Research has shown that when we are treated and heal in a green healthcare facility—one that has a healthy indoor environmental quality and connects us to the outdoors—we heal faster, have shorter hospital stays and fewer return visits,” says Scot Horst, Senior Vice President of LEED, USGBC. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.