New Jersey's public schools have long been test cases for energy conservation and other sustainable strategies; the proliferation of solar panels on school roofs is just the highest-profile example.
In the past two years alone, there have been more than 30 solar projects approved in New Jersey schools, and another 20 proposed.
As such strategies increasingly become economic issues, the state's School Boards Association is launching an unprecedented study of schools' green practices. The goal is to determine where and how they can bring short- and long-term savings and other benefits to existing schools.
The Sustainable Schools Project, costing $300,000 and taking place over three years, aims to cull from schools their success stories and their lessons in not just energy efficiency but also how they teach and set examples of sustainable living in the classroom.
"You hear a lot about new green schools going up, but not very much on what is happening in existing schools," said John Henry of the association's Educational Information and Resource Center (EIRC), which will be heading up the study.
"And not just in energy, but what are the other areas that could bring savings and also improve the education for these children," he said. "We see coming out of this a sustainable how-to, a guidebook of best practices."
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