It is a known fact that everybody has to focus on going green and using sustainable technology. Patrick Lanning believes that this should start as early as possible, which is why he is so happy to see a commitment to sustainable development in Oregon’s grade schools. Students here are not only told about green technology, they actually get to use it. In so doing, schools have created a learning and living space in which they can truly understand what it means to be green.
Patrick Lanning on Sustainable Schools
Today, all schools have to focus on going green, for a variety of reasons, including:
- The fact that energy costs are rising rapidly.
- The fact that parents and communities want to see accountability in terms of how green a school is.
- The fact that going green is high on the agenda.
A lot of schools in Oregon are currently up for renovation. The buildings are old and no longer fit for purpose. Hence, money has to be invested in them anyway. According to Patrick Lanning, this money is being put to very good use, as schools are really focused on reducing their carbon footprint. Some of the things they have done include using more natural resources and materials, becoming more energy efficient, and improving air quality. The added bonus of this, is that the overall teaching and learning environment is more comfortable and enjoyable.
Going green is about a lot of different things and schools can focus on any or all of them. Some commonly used ideas include:
- Using energy efficient appliances.
- Using sustainable energy sources.
What Is Daylighting?
Ash Creek Elementary School in Oregon is an excellent example of how sustainable technology can be used in schools. They have completely changed their lighting system, moving into what is known as “daylighting”.
Daylighting means that windows and transparent media are placed in such a way that they maximize illumination. What this means, practically, is that fewer light bulbs have to be switched on. Additionally, daylighting buildings generally use sustainable technology such as solar panels to harness the necessary energy for those light bulbs that are switched on. In the 1990s, daylighting was studied and it showed that children’s abilities in math and reading improved by 20% and 26% respectively.
Some Going Green Tips
Patrick Lanning has developed a number of key tips that schools can implement if they want to go green. They are:
- To ensure the school’s mission statement shows it is environmentally conscious.
- To use renewable technology such as solar panels.
- To purchase local produce for the school cafeteria.
- To post monthly energy usage details.
- To create a going green committee.
- To build a school garden and use produce in school foods.
- To not use any electrical appliances unless absolutely necessary.
- To enter the school into an energy competition.
- To have regular talks on sustainability.
- To recycle throughout the school.