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Testify or Comment on SJ 29 Green School Study Resolution

Come to Helena[masked] to testify for the Green Schools Resolution SJ 29

Sen. Mike Philips of Bozeman has sponsored Study Resolution HJ 29 to assess the benefits and impacts of adopting green school standards for Montana public schools. If passed, the Legislature would be directed to form an interim committee which would report back to the 2015 Legislature with recommendations (for bills). The study would examine strategies and legislation other states have used successfully for financing and implementing green construction, renovation, operations and maintenance, and education.

Contact Kristen at[masked] if you would like to go! Or, contact Senators on the Energy and Telecommunications Committee prior to 3pm 4/16: See Senate Committees and Contacting Legislators Pages on this site. Call[masked] during business hours.

A Green School is a new or existing school building or facility that creates a healthy environment that is conducive to learning while saving energy, resources and money.

Healthy Children and Staff: Green Schools are built and operated to be a healthy environment with:
• Clean air (good ventilation, free of toxic materials and harmful chemicals in cleaning supplies, furniture, and landscaping; and windows that open)
• Enhanced use of daylight
• Improved classroom acoustics
Benefits: Reduced incidence of asthma and improved student performance. (See The Impact of School Buildings on Student Health and Performance)

Facility Efficiency: Green Schools utilize some or all of the following:
• Energy-efficient heating and air conditioning systems
• Energy-efficient lighting and occupancy sensors
• Water-efficient fixtures
• Minimize outside water use and decrease maintenance costs by using native, drought-resistant plants, rainwater harvesting and innovative irrigation systems
• Manage storm water runoff
• Reduce waste, and encourage recycling. Conserve resources and
• Preserve the surrounding habitats during construction and operation
• Renewable energy sources
• Train Operations & Maintenance Staff to Maximize Building Performance
• Tracking and sharing information about building utility and water use

Benefits: Billings saved $654,636 from July 2008 to January 2010 in lower utility costs, provide jobs and training in high performance building techniques, lower operations and maintenance expenses, conserve fresh drinking water and decrease the burden on municipal water and wastewater treatment, lessen demand on local landfills, lower CO2 emissions.

Additional Benefits: Green Schools are more than buildings. There are other measureable benefits derived from Green Schools. (See Testimonials)
• Improved community image: According to the Turner Construction 2005 Survey of Green Buildings, 87 percent of school executives who have invested in green buildings report improved community image as one of the top benefits of green schools. Green Schools
• Increased property values
• Higher teacher retention rates
• Designing a green school uses the integrated design process to engage stakeholders thereby identifying potential problems and inefficiencies early in the process and address them quickly and cost effectively.

Green Education: Many states have also developed standards for environmental literacy. Some green schools are used as an educational tool regarding energy, water use, and green practices. (See Harnessing Green Buildings as Teaching Tools)

Measurement Standards and Accountability for Taxpayer Money:
Green School standards have been developed by government and third party organizations to assess some or all of the aspects outlined above.

• LEED (Leadership in energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification system that provides third-party verification that a building or community was designed, built or is operating using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the following metrics: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
• Energy Star Portfolio Manager a free online tool that allows building owners to track and assess energy and water consumption, performance and cost information for individual buildings and building portfolios.
• EPA’s Building Education and Assessment Model (I‐BEAM) for indoor air quality
• School Building Audits by utility companies
• Sharing energy use information with the school personnel, the public, OPI, DEQ
• States can promote the construction, renovation, and retrofit of green schools by offering technical expertise and assistance through a state authority for green building projects.

Financing Options: (See The 50 for 50 Green Schools Caucus Initiative for descriptions and case studies)
Provide Direct Financing for Green Construction, Renovation, and Operations & Maintenance
• Specifying Green Criteria Within Bond Authorizations
• Grant Programs for Green Building
• State Revolving Loan Funds
• Maintenance Fund Sharing
• Bridge the Gap Between Capital and Operating Budgets

Create Indirect Financing Opportunities for Green Construction, Renovation, and Operations & Maintenance
• Public‐Private Partnerships
• Tax Abatements for Green Retrofits
• Enable legislation for performance contracting (PC)
• Enhance Funding Through a Tax Credit Pass‐through Option
• Encouraging Lease Purchase Financing arrangements

For more information: Greening Our Schools: A State Legislator's Guide to Best Policy Practices

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