It’s a value that was instilled in me at an early age, from my mother and grandmother, who knew how to make a dollar stretch as far as it could-because it had to. My bargain-shopping drives my husband crazy sometimes, but he loves to brag as much as I do that I spent only $10 on my wedding dress at an upscale department store.
I don’t like to waste stuff, either, and I’d like to leave this planet in at least decent shape for future generations. That’s why I think the movement to go green may be the silver lining to this ongoing economic downturn.
Environmentalism has been around for years-I wrote my first story about a “green school” nearly 10 years ago, and it wasn’t a new trend even then. But I think what’s really pushing schools to look at green solutions is the cost savings, both in the short and long term.
What has changed in the past decade is the cost of going green. It used to be more expensive to build schools with energy saving features or purchase environmentally friendly cleaning products. Now the rising demand has lowered the prices of many materials and products. Energy costs have risen, too, and that’s one area in a budget where you can almost always find savings without cutting classroom programs. And the savings in the long run make it a no-brainer.
We looked at the green schools movement in our April issue, and profiled several school districts that had taken different approaches to sustainability. One had saved more than $1 million by hiring an energy consultant, another district profits from selling recyclable goods while instilling environmental values to its students.
Since the demand for green products and green construction is increasing, especially now that the federal stimulus money is being doled out, we’ll continue to follow the trends and bring you more ideas to save money and save the environment.
Joetta Sack-Min, Associate Editor