On September 27-28, green leaders and innovators from California’s schools and community colleges will meet at the Pasadena Convention Center for the 2012 Green California Schools and Community Colleges Summits. Keynote presentations, education sessions, an awards ceremony and countless conversations and connections between colleagues will all provide opportunities to take stock of what’s working in facilities and curriculum and to gather needed resources for the coming year.
The Summits are designed to celebrate and support the vital role that these institutions play in the sustainability movement. No matter what policies, strategies, technologies or mandates are devised to lead us to a green future, their success or failure depends on a single factor: people. For this reason, schools have unequalled potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, change consumer behavior, speed adoption of renewable energy and build determination to conserve non-renewable resources.
The education programs for the schools and colleges events address the wide range of ways that these institutions are engaged in creating a culture of sustainability, from building facilities that provide learning opportunities through their design and efficiency to the implementation of standards-based curriculum that promotes environmental literacy.
On September 28, the colleges program will devote three successive sessions to the DEEP (Developing Energy Efficiency Professionals) Program, which provides community college students with paid internships in which they work collaboratively on efficiency projects with facilities staff. DEEP has been piloted successfully on three campuses and there is a desire for it to spread rapidly to more. The sessions will be led by Deeptika Patel, Principal of the DEEP Program and include presenters each of the pilot campuses.
A special day-long Green Curriculum Institute, also on September 28, will focus on California’s groundbreaking K-12 environmental literacy curriculum, the Education and the Environment Initiative. Organized by staff at the Office of Education and the Environment of the California Department of Resources Recovery and Recycling (CalRecycle). The EEI materials include 85 individual units that are aligned to more than 100 selected Science and History-Social Science academic content standards, while supporting English Language Arts standards for Kindergarten through 12th grade. The institute will give participants a chance to learn how this new resource is being used in classrooms, and will include breakout sessions focused on grade-specific strategies.
Over the two days, 36 sessions will address essential topics, ranging from water and energy conservation to curriculum, funding, building strategies and green workforce development. (All sessions offer continuing education credits from the International Code Council, the Construction Management Associtation of America and Build it Green.) Some examples:
Architect and author Eric Corey Freed, a engaging speaker who regularly headlines green events, will offer a provocative session with the title “Dodo-Sapiens: Why we need regenerative, bio-based schools.”
“Seemingly harmless decisions about our buildings made decades ago are throwing all of our natural systems into decline,” he says. “While every other technology has made vast improvements (cell phones, computers, automobiles), our buildings have remained largely unchanged.” He promises “specific, bold, new ideas for transforming our cities and suburbs into regenerative and restorative places.”
The cutting edge of energy policy is heading toward “zero net” buildings, structures that generate as much power as they use. State Architect Chester “Chet” Widom will be on hand for the session “Moving from A to Z(ero) Net,” discussing the strategies and planning steps that schools and colleges can take now in anticipation of a 2025 zero net target for their facilities.
FUSION (Facilities Utilization, Space Inventory Options Net) is a database of 71-million square feet of California community college facilities that tracks the condition assessments and develops cost modeling for maintenance projects, enabling colleges to plan budgets and help facilitate the passing of much-needed bond measures. Data from the 5,000 buildings of the system is accessible through FUSION, a web-based interface connected to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) overlaid with energy data, devices, sensors and controls. This “real-time” information offers colleges unprecedented capabilities for benchmarking, sharing best energy management practices and accessing utility incentives. Project leaders who developed the system and its software will be at the Summit to help campus staff discover how to take advantage of its power.
A new initiative from the U.S. Department of Education, the Green Ribbon Schools award program, has been designed to provide comprehensive framework that integrates green buildings, green operations, and green curricula with the inspiring goals of net zero environmental impacts, healthy learning environments, and environmental literacy.
Kathleen Moore, Director of the School Facilities and Transportation Services Division of the California Department of Education, will be part of a panel that discusses how the program will operate in California in 2012-2013.
Community colleges play an essential role in helping both students and existing members of the workforce gain the skills they need to access jobs in the emerging green economy. The colleges program includes numerous sessions focused on successful efforts to match training to current workforce needs, from advanced transportation technology and systems to “non-traditional” careers available to women in the building trades.
Expo and Keynotes
The Summit also includes an Expo that offers attendees the chance to discover the latest offerings from scores of companies with green products and services, from energy, design and building solutions to curriculum and waste management.
The keynote session on the morning of September 27 will feature environmentalist Kelly Meyer, a Trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the American Heart Association's "Teaching Gardens" program and co-founder of the Women's Cancer Research Fund, and outspoken supporter of public education. She will be joined by State Architect Chester "Chet" Widom and Henry A.J. Ramos of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, who has emerged as a sustainability leader in the system.
A 4:00 pm reception on September 27 will feature the presentation of the 2012 Leadership Awards from the Summits, celebrating achievements by instructors, campuses and school and college districts.
For more about the Summits, visit www.green-technology.org. Online registration is available by clicking here. Registration for the keynotes, Expo and Leadership Awards reception are free. Special sessions on fuel cell technology and utility-sponsored energy efficiency programs will also be available at no charge.
For registration questions, call 626.577.5700.