U.S. Mayors Work for Greener Schools

Staff Writer, Consulting-Specifying Engineer

NATIONAL : On October 1, a group of U.S. mayors announced the formation of the Mayors Alliance for Green Schools. The group comprises a coalition of mayors working to group the leadership and creativity of mayors across the country, to promote the benefits of green schools in their communities. Developed in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Alliance will work to accelerate implementation of programs supporting the 2007 U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) resolution calling for green schools for all children within a generation. According to USGBC president and CEO Rick Fedrizzi, there are Green School Advocacy committees in 80 local USBGC chapters across he country; those groups will be at the disposal of the Alliance in developing and promoting sustainability-minded programs. “As first responders to the needs of their communities, mayors are the vanguard of sustainable development in our country,” says Fedrizzi. “USGBC wants to do all we can to support them, especially in this critically important initiative.” The announcement was led by Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. Also voicing their support were San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom; Austin, Texas, Mayor Will Wynn; Des Moines, Iowa, Mayor Frank Cownie; and Grand Rapids, Mich., Mayor George Heartwell.

A number of Alliance initiatives already are in action. In Miami, San Francisco, and Chicago, sustainability marketing firm EcoMedia, New York City, is working with mayors to leverage innovative public-private partnerships that create new opportunities for green school projects. Other Alliance efforts include initiatives to install green roofs, start recycling programs, and improve the environmental friendliness of existing buildings through the Clinton Climate Initiative’s K-12 Retrofit Program.

Other Alliance initiatives will work to:

1. Develop and create public-private partnerships with a local business to allow schools to plant a green roof, install a solar garden or start a recycling program.

2. Help school districts green their existing facilities through the Clinton Climate Initiative’s K-12 Retrofit Program.

3. Encourage state legislatures to create policies and incentives for green school improvements.

4. Engage in a national dialogue about green schools, green jobs and green infrastructure.