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eWaste Challenge

Collectively, US state and local governments purchase more than $35 billion worth of technology equipment annually. These products have significant environmental impact – from the way they are made and delivered, through their energy consumption in use, to potential toxic releases and worker impacts at end of life.  By engaging in the environmentally sound and cost-effective management of electronic assets, government organizations have the potential to reduce environmental impact, cost and risks, as well as demonstrating leadership. The State Electronics Challenge, a free voluntary program, provides resources and technical assistance to state, tribal, regional, and local governments, including schools, colleges, universities, and other public entities, for improving electronics management practices.  The SEC also offers annual recognition to those who meet specific goals. More than 70 government entities—representing over 80,000 employees—already participate as SEC Partners. To learn more, register for an introductory webinar on October 5, 2011 at 12 noon Pacific time. 

Photo courtesy addewaste at Flickr



RichmondBUILD Gets $115,000 for Green Workforce Training

Contra Costa College is part of the partnership established by the City of Richmond that offers training in green construction, solar installation and energy efficiency.  The program, RichmondBUILD, got a big boost recently when Chevron, Pacific Gas & Electric and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory chipped in to provide $115,000. During an event recognizing RichmondBUILD’s achievements, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom spoke of the importance of building green jobs, about personal accountability and scaling successful programs that embody best practices.  The program has achieved an 80 percent job placement rate for its graduates, with many entering the green jobs industries at starting wages of $18 per hour. 

RichmondBUILD students learn about solar installation by on-the-job training.



USGBC Pilot Classroom a Learning Experience

An interesting experiment is going on at Davis Magnet School in Costa Mesa. In a pilot project by the Orange County chapter of the US Green Building Council, one classroom in the school will be retrofitted as a green classroom and another classroom will remain the same and used as a control in the experiment. The classrooms will be adjacent to each other. Students will be able  monitor and compare each environment for energy use, air quality and other factors, collecting and correlating statistics related to the green building process. Volunteers from companies across the US will be involved, and a roadmap for additional schools will be created. According to the USGBC, green schools save an average of $100,000 per year in operating costs.

Concept of a green classroom created by Anderson Anderson Architecture 



BlueGreen Alliance Releases Policy  on Greening the Federal Education Act

The BlueGreen Alliance, comprised of labor and environmental groups, has thrown its weight behind greening the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is slated for reauthorization. In its Policy on Green Schools and Environmental Education, the Alliance offers a set of ideas that would achieve a broad vision of green schools. These include supporting a Green Ribbon Schools program proposed by the Department of education that would set high standards for greening schools. There would be grants at state and local levels for energy efficiency renovations, toxic chemical removal and indoor air quality improvements. Creating standards-based environmental education and finding ways to include parents and the schools’ communities in green schools programs are also encouraged.  

Branson School in Ross, California seeking LEED Platinum certification.

Photo courtesy David Wakely and Turnbull Griffin Haesloop architects.



Green Tech High First of Its Kind

The Lodi Unified School District is planning to build a new high school that would provide college and career preparatory training focused on the environment. The proposed Green Tech High School Academy is scheduled to open in 2014. Among its innovative aspects will be an on-site water treatment plant, solar panels on parking areas, an outdoor dining area where students will be able to dine on food they grow in the school garden.  Green aspects of the school will be worked into learning experiences for students. The school will be focused on three themes of green schools: design, grow and build.  It is expected that students will have the skills to carry this knowledge and a love of sustainability into their future careers.

Second Floor design for Lodi Unified School District’s Green Tech Academy High School features green roof and rooftop garden.



Solano’s Green Mechanics

With a $500,000 grant from the California Employment Development Department, Solano Community College will be training mechanics to work on hybrid electric vehicles. The college hopes to train 320 employed and unemployed mechanics, and the grant will help Solano create a new auto technology facility. With the growing demand for electric and hybrid vehicles, the demand for trained mechanics to work on these vehicles will be growing exponentially. Solano is partnering with the Solano County Workforce Investment Board and the California Energy Commission. Classes are expected to start in January, 2012. 

Photo courtesy heidigoseek at Flickr

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