To raise awareness about the benefits of sustainable schools among their colleagues, three members of Congress, Representatives Darlene Hooley (D-OR), Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Jim Matheson (D-UT), recently founded the Green Schools Caucus. According to Caucus cofounder Matheson, whose district encompasses parts of Salt Lake City and southern Utah, “Schools are vulnerable to the skyrocketing costs of energy. When their energy budgets take a hit, kids’ education suffers.”

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, “Sixty-eight K-12 and higher education buildings have earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, which is a tiered rating system based on points for using energy- and water-efficient windows, lights, insulation and fixtures, as well as alternatives to toxic chemicals in interior paints and glues.”

Following the launch of the new caucus, the AIBS Public Policy Office provided the caucus co-chairs with copies of the November issue of BioScience, which includes the article “Green Roofs as Urban Ecosystems: Ecological Structures, Functions, and Services.” The article articulates the benefits of having roofs with a vegetated surface, including, but not limited to, providing improved storm water management, temperature regulation in buildings, and urban wildlife habitat.

The seven other members of the Green Schools Caucus are Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT), Jay Inslee (D-WA) Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Steve Kagen (D-WI), David Wu (D-OR), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Michael Honda (D-CA).


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