A New Program Builds Capacity for Advancing Green Building at Under-Resourced Colleges and Universities
By Amy Seif Hattan, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Second Nature
With a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the Kresge Foundation, Second Nature has launched a new program, Advancing Green Building in Higher Education, to assist minority-serving institutions, community colleges, and other "under-resourced" schools to build green on their campuses. This program will build champions for green building and help these institutions to learn about and use the financial and technical resources available to construct and renovate campus buildings in ways that save money, reduce negative health impacts, and serve as community models for environmentally sustainable construction.
Buildings account for an estimated 40% of greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore many ACUPCC signatories are constructing high-performance, healthy facilities that reduce or eliminate harmful emissions and waste. At the same time, these facilities also increase quality of life and productivity for their occupants. However, some higher education institutions have fewer resources to spend on bricks and mortar projects, less in-house knowledge about green building, and limited opportunity to learn from peer schools that have excelled in green construction. Some are unaware that environmentally responsible construction can result in 10-20% annual energy savings over the long-term.
The Advancing Green Building Program provides a number of opportunities for under-resourced institutions to develop these capacities, including a fellowship program that assists college and university senior managers in acquiring the skills and technical information they need to be effective champions for green building at their schools. College and university campus planners, facilities directors, and vice presidents of finance or business from institutions listed as Title III/V by the Department of Education are eligible to apply to the Kresge Fellowship Program. Fellows receive funding to attend a national conference, such as the ACUPCC Leadership Summit in Chicago, and become part of a peer network of fellows for the sharing of best practices. For more information about the fellowship program and how to apply by the April 15 deadline, visit http://www.secondnature.org/AGBfellowships.html.
A portion of the grant funds also provides membership discounts to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for the first 100 under-resourced schools who sign up via http://www.aashe.org/membership_discount. Membership in AASHE provides access to a network of more than 700 colleges and universities working to advance sustainability in higher education and to members-only on-line resources.
Additionally, Second Nature is developing a Campus Green Builder web portal; offering regional summits for networking and information-sharing among under-resourced schools; raising green building awareness among building contractors who work with under-resourced schools; and creating a strategy document in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council examining the integration of green building into the academic curricula. More information about the Advancing Green Building in Higher Education program is available at http://www.secondnature.org/AGB.html.
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