Minneapolis boosts green schools commitment
Mayor Rybak signs onto Alliance for Green Schools
April 21, 2009 (MINNEAPOLIS) Healthier, more energy efficient school buildings are on the horizon for the City of Minneapolis. In an effort to harness the most innovative, cost-efficient technologies and solutions, Mayor R.T. Rybak has signed the U.S. Green Building Council’s Mayors’ Alliance for Green Schools (USGBC).
Mississippi Headwaters, the USGBC Minnesota chapter, advocates for green schools and is helping bring the Mayors’ Alliance for Green Schools to the forefront in Minnesota. Rybak is the first Minnesota mayor to sign the alliance, and one of the first in the nation.
"Participation in the alliance further engages our community in the national dialogue on green schools, green jobs and sustainable infrastructure," said Rybak. "Every day new incentives and better solutions are available for greening our schools and the Alliance will help bring those innovations to Minneapolis."
The alliance is a growing coalition, tapping the leadership and creativity of mayors across the country to promote the benefits and instill the practices of green schools. Developed in partnership with the USGBC, the alliance is accelerating the implementation of programs supporting the 2007 U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution calling for green schools for all children within a generation.
"Our goal is to have every child college ready," said William Green, Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools. "Instilling sustainable, eco-friendly concepts and practices in our 33,000 students is a promise to our future, and helps ensure that our students are ready to serve as conscience citizens of the 21st century."
One cornerstone of the alliance’s agenda involves developing joint public-private partnerships with local businesses to enable schools to implement green roofs, solar panels, recycling programs and other green features in their schools.
"The mayor’s alliance is re-shaping practices and mindsets by introducing various green building technologies to local schools," said Sheri Brezinka, Executive Director of Mississippi Headwaters. "The City of Minneapolis and Mayor Rybak have ambitious efforts to help make their schools better learning environments – a valuable lesson for the communities, schools and businesses in our state."
The City of Minneapolis and Mississippi Headwaters will collaborate to identify tactics, such as reductions in energy and water consumption, which can be implemented to reduce the district’s carbon footprint.
According to "Greening America's Schools: Costs and Benefits," green schools cost about 2 percent more than conventional schools to build but provide long-term financial benefits that are 20 times as large. They use an average of a minimum of 30 percent less energy and 30 percent less water. They also maximize natural daylight to create a more comfortable environment that is conducive to learning. Green schools have better acoustics, and more comfortable and efficient climate control which maintain healthy indoor air quality.
About the Mississippi Headwaters Chapter
As the built environment fundamentally impacts peoples' lives and our planet's health, the mission of the Mississippi Headwaters Chapter is to positively transform the building processes, building industry and communities of the Minnesota region, by drawing upon the experience of stakeholders in the built environment.The Chapter promotes the design, construction and operation of buildings and communities that are healthy places to live and work, environmentally responsible and economically viable on a lifecycle basis. The Chapter serves its members and communities by promoting best practices in design and technology usage, advocating green building policies and facilitating information exchange and education. The Chapter encourages the widespread acceptance and use of the LEED ® Green Building Rating System TM and other complementary tools and standards. For more information, visit www.usgbcmn.org.
Published Apr. 21, 2009