The US Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools recently published a report for state legislators, providing them with a guide to best policy practices concerning green schools. The report states that Connecticut is one of only 12 states that have policies in law encouraging green school construction.
In 2006, Connecticut passed legislation mandating that all state buildings, including university buildings, be designed and built to meet the US GBC LEED Silver level. In 2007 they made LEED Silver the minimum requirement for all new public schools, school additions and renovations receiving state aid. In fact, Public Act 07-242 dictated that seven optional LEED points must be met for Connecticut school construction projects, including; requiring that buildings must be 20 percent more energy and water efficient than the state building code, have exceptional indoor air quality, and not permit smoking on the property.
The Connecticut chapter of the Green Building Council and the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) at Eastern Connecticut State University have been instrumental in working with communities that are planning to build green schools. According to Bill Leahy, the institute’s director, “Nine communities in Connecticut have already built schools to these standards and there are 95 school construction projects in the planning and design stages since the laws mandating high performance school building standards have been in place. These schools are not only productive learning environments, but are also healthier environments for the students and staff, and good financial investments for their communities.”
Although seemingly absent from the 50 for 50 Green Schools Political Caucus, Connecticut is ahead of most states. “Our entire State Legislature and the Governor are Green School Advocates, with additional support from the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board and the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority,” said Leahy.
So it seems that while CT has fallen under the radar, as pointed out by Ms. Spiegel’s Political Mirror Blog on December 14th: “State’s face is red (not green)” based solely on the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) inaugural list of “Best of Green Schools”; we are far from an embarrassment, but rather an innovator in green school construction.