The U.S. Green Building Council (“USGBC”) provides a rating system for new construction and major renovations of K-12 academic buildings, known as LEED for Schools. USGBC’s website dedicated to green school buildings defines a green school as, “a school building or facility that creates a healthy environment that is conducive to learning while saving energy, resources and money.” LEED for Schools aims to create healthy and productive learning environments for students and teachers. For example, the rating system contains Indoor Environmental Quality credits for enhanced acoustical performance (which can be achieved by reducing extraneous noise in classrooms) and mold prevention. It also provides an Innovation in Design credit for designing and implementing a curriculum which uses the green aspects of a school to teach students about sustainability.

LEED for Schools should be used for K-12 buildings seeking certification that have over 60% of their square footage dedicated to learning space. K-12 schools with 40-60% of their square footage dedicated to learning space, post secondary academic buildings, and prekindergarten buildings have the option of using LEED for Schools or LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations.

G.D. Rogers Garden Elementary School in Bradenton, Florida recently achieved LEED Silver certification under the LEED for Schools rating system. The school incorporated soundproof walls and acoustic tiles which reduce noise, selected paints, carpets, and other materials that limit the emission of harmful chemicals, and installed a rainwater cistern that provides water for its teaching gardens. In addition to providing a healthy learning environment, the school was designed to reduce energy and costs. For more details on G.D. Rogers Garden Elementary School’s LEED certification, click here.