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Buncombe County Green Schools

The Buncombe County Green Schools Program, in it's second year, continues to grow as many of our schools are doing great projects that improve our environment. Teachers and schools were given the opportunity to fill out an online Green Schools Checklist consisting of 35 possible environmental projects.

In order to be considered for a Green School Award, schools must have met at least 10 of the goals and undergo a district Green Team evaluation visit. Four more schools joined the 12 schools from last year that met or exceeded this criteria.

It has been a very busy school year yet we still have administrators, teachers, students and our community actively involved in many green activities and projects. Some say this is extra… yet Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, addressing a large group of educators at the National Green Schools Conference this year shared the following perspective:

"…green schools and environmental literacy in fact complement the goals of providing a well-rounded education for the 21st century, of modernizing schools at reduced costs, and of accelerating learning.

Thanks to many of your efforts, we now have data that suggests high-quality environmental education increases academic achievement, whether it is used as a theme across the curriculum or integrated into core subjects. And that research suggests that environmental studies boost achievement not only in science, but also in reading, math, and social studies."

In the Green Team site visits it was exhilarating to experience the balance of community volunteers, students, teachers and administrators sharing their Green School features with us.

The four schools receiving initial BCS Green School banners this year are:

AC Reynolds High, Cane Creek Middle, Pisgah Elementary and Hominy Valley Elementary.

Owen Middle School, received the Silver Level status …this means that not only did they continue to meet the criteria from the initial list, they also progressed on to the next set of challenges and accomplished those as well. They are the first school to achieve the Silver Level.

These schools were honored at the May Board of Education Meeting and received their banners to be proudly displayed at the schools. At the meeting students from each school addressed the board and told them about the projects that qualified them for the program.

The Buncombe County Schools Maintenance Department has also taken action in the past year to improve the efficiency of our school buildings.

By actively seeking grants, the Maintenance Department has secured grant funding in excess of $ 680,000 from Progress Energy, The NC Department of Energy and The Land of Sky Regional Council.

Progress Energy has presented the Buncombe County Board of Education a rebate check of more than $300,000 for energy-efficiency improvements made to 34 schools. The incentives are provided through Progress Energy's Energy Efficiency for Business program and will help to offset the cost of installing these energy-saving measures. The upgrades will result in annual energy savings of nearly 1.3 million kilowatt hours and save more than $115,000 each year in energy costs.

(Image provided by Buncombe County Schools.)

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