A report issued by the American Institute of Architects and the U.S. Green Building Council last year found that "green schools" are not only better for students, teachers, and the environment, but also for the accounts, writes the Association of American Educators.
And as they're faced with major budget cuts, a school system in Mississippi has saved over $23,000 in energy costs in the past year while participating in the Tennessee Valley Authority Green School Initiative, a program designed to save on costly utility bills in schools, say officials.
Oxford School District Interim Superintendent Brian Harvey praised the multi-level benefits of the program – by helping schools save money on energy costs, protecting the environment, and allowing students to participate in the process.
"And they can build a model so other schools in the TVA coverage area can replicate it."
Five schools in the Oxford district and three schools in the more rural Lafayette County School District were involved when the two-year pilot program was launched last year.
Alisa Fye, from the TVA program in Mississippi, said each school saved on differently levels and found various ways to save energy across the board. While Oxford and Lafayette County were the only systems to participate in the pilot program, new districts are looking to begin the venture in the coming year.
The pilot program has also instigated the expansion of TVA Green Schools to around 60 additional schools in the entire region.
Oxford's Bramlett Elementary School claims to have saved nearly $10,000 per year by just turning off lights in classrooms and offices and turning off computers at the end of the day. Schools across the participating districts will look to apply these easy cost-saving methods and many more, including adopting specific energy policies for each individual school.
Certainly, with the attraction of saving thousands of dollars on utility bills by efficiently balancing energy-use, stated policies on energy efficiency and green school initiatives could become school staples in the years to come.