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Greening Schools in the Golden State
Summit will focus on new generation of healthy, sustainable schools

From December 4th to the 6th, the Pasadena Convention Center and historic Pasadena Civic Auditorium will offer principals, school board members, architects, product suppliers and educators an unprecedented view of the range of tools and strategies available to make California’s schools the healthiest and most sustainable in the nation.

The Green California Schools Summit and Exposition, with over 190 exhibit spaces and showcase areas, more than 80 breakout sessions and 10 pre-conference workshops – and even a model green school building constructed in the center of the exhibit hall floor – will capture all dimensions of the California’s growing green schools initiative.

“This is the first major opportunity that we’ve had in California to focus completely on K-12 schools in terms of the potential for energy savings and sustainability,” notes David Thorman, California’s State Architect, and co-chair of the Summit advisory board.

Schools are often the centerpieces of their communities, and with growing awareness in every one of the almost 1,100 school districts in California of the benefits of healthy schools, the Summit will meet a tremendous need to connect these districts with the products, services, financial incentives and information they will need to begin or expand their greening efforts. This need is given even greater urgency by the fact that the state has undertaken the
largest school construction effort in its history.

The Summit was developed at the request of advisors to the Green California Summit, convened in Sacramento last March to forward the implementation of state and local sustainability efforts ranging from energy efficiency and green building to transportation and environmentally preferable purchasing. Despite the breadth of the program undertaken for the Summit, aimed at the thousands of state workers with responsibility for these programs, they wanted to be ensure that schools were not ignored.

“As planning moved forward, it became clear that schools had unique needs, and that an entirely new event was called for,” said Green Technology president Bob Graves. “The Green Schools event was created to provide a program and resources that would best support programs to make California schools healthier and more sustainable."

The advisory board for the event is composed of officials and organizations that are leading sustainability efforts in California schools. Secretary of State and Consumer Services Rosario Marin, whose agency approves both design and funding for public school construction, joins Thorman as co-chair. Members include representatives from the state Department of Education, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS), director of the Department of General Services, and the chief facilities executive of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

“The Green Schools Summit is unique because it will not be just about buildings, but about providing healthier environments for students,” said advisory board member Jules Stein, director of special projects for the Office of the Secretary of Education. “The first thing Secretary of Education Dave Long said upon assuming office is that all his decisions would be based on what is good for kids – and green schools are good for kids.”

participation in the planning of the event is crucial; to be eligible for green funds under Proposition ID, public schools must meet the “high performance” standards that it has developed. While an ever-increasing number of districts are embracing CHPS, there are many who still need to be engaged.

“The more events we can have to increase awareness, the more people will join in,” said Kristin Heinen, assistant executive director for CHPS. “This Summit is addressing a very broad range of green school issues – not just facilities but also other important aspects, from gardens and nursing programs to nutrition. We can provide a foundation of what green goals are and an opportunity to talk about any green issue.”

A Showcase for Possibilities

The summit exhibition will have four distinct venues. The main exhibit hall will be home to over 150 exhibitors, offering a chance to learn about and see products ranging from zero-emission paint and recycled rubber flooring to solar power and daylighting systems.

At the center of the exhibition hall,
Bouma Construction will construct a Green School Demonstration Building. An experiential showcase, the Demonstration Building offers attendees a unique opportunity to experience, in context, various aspects of a green school. Specific vendor products will be showcased as part of the building design. The
building also includes a classroom area in which an ongoing series of educational presentations will be provided.

The adjacent building, the site of conference registration, pre-session training, and breakout sessions, will also feature a project showcase gallery. This area is reserved for displays featuring completed projects that exemplify best practices and is intended to provide an important element of the educational experience at the Summit. School staff who participated in the showcase projects will be on hand, providing an important peer-to-peer perspective.

The first exhibitor accepted for this gallery is Solar City, which is providing systems integration and installation services for the Pacific Gas and Electric Solar Schools Program.  Partnering with the Foundation for Environmental Education, Solar City will be providing over 70 pole-mounted installations throughout the PG&E service territory during the next two years and will provide a proprietary data portal that will connect all 100 of the PG&E schools. Solar City will offer attendees hands-on exposure to their 1kW ground mounted school systems, rooftop commercial installations and their web portal. 

Between the two buildings, an outdoor display area will feature alternative fuel vehicles, playground equipment, grounds equipment and landscaping designs and products. Six-foot tabletop displays will also be available outside training rooms, offering a combination of economy of space and high visibility.

“It is time for all school districts to start incorporating green technology and sustainability in all new schools,” said advisory board member Ted Rozzi, chair of California’s Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) and assistant superintendent for school facilities for the Corona-Norco Unified School District. “The position we find ourselves in is that we can no longer accept things the way they are. We need to start thinking about the next 50 years.”

For more information on the Green California Schools Summit, or to register, click here. [Space for full summit registration is limited. Schools are encouraged to bring teams to obtain group rates; recommended team members include principals, business officers, facilities personnel, board members, purchasing and transportations specialists, teachers, parents and interested community members.]

Details regarding the education program and the call for presentations can be found by clicking here.

For Green Technology coverage of schools issues, click here.



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