Clean, Green and Healthy Schools
More than 53 million children and about six million adults spend a significant portion of their days in more than 120,000 public and private school buildings. Many of these buildings are old and in poor condition, and may contain environmental conditions that inhibit learning and pose increased risks to the health of children and staff.
This website is designed to provide one-stop access to the many programs and resources available to help prevent and resolve environmental issues in schools.
- EPA’s Healthy Schools Homepage
- EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Homepage
- EPA’s Healthy Schools Guidelines
- Healthy Child Care Directory
- Sensible Steps to Healthier School Environments (PDF) (26 pp, 1.74MB, About PDF) - focuses on affordable, sensible ways to help school districts identify, prevent, reduce and resolve the most common school environmental health concerns. This booklet includes a Quick Assessment Checklist and waste reduction and energy efficiency ideas for conserving financial resources.
- Clean, Green and Healthy Schools Educational Presentation (PDF) (25 pp., 683K, About PDF) - For newer versions of Adobe: To view presenter notes, place cursor on balloon at upper left corner of slide.
Importance of establishing a Healthy Schools program:
- Decreased insurance premiums from workers compensation (teachers’ absenteeism)
- Improved absentee rates at each school (sickness, hospitalization)
- Reduced average rates of those identified with asthmatic students in each school
Importance of states’ establishing K-12 Clean, Green and Healthy Schools regulations and policies:
- Promoting the establishment of local school environmental management systems that consider health and safety for students and staff in all practices related to design, construction, renovation, operations, and maintenance of schools and grounds
- Providing support to schools that are identified as most in need of critical infrastructure repair and/or maintenance
- Encouraging energy-efficient and environmentally safe purchasing policies for school districts
- Recommending that new school facilities and renovated facilities are designed and built to ensure sustainable, healthy environments that also conserve energy and save money
Children spend more time in school than in any other environment except their home. A school that is well-located, thoughtfully designed, soundly built, and efficiently operated enhances the educational process by providing a safe and healthy environment for children, teachers and other staff, and provides many opportunities to meet multiple community goals.
Voluntary Guidelines for Selecting Safe School Locations: In October 2011, EPA released the final School Siting Guidelines. These voluntary guidelines can be used to help communities protect students and staff from environmental threats by making the best possible decisions when selecting new school locations. The guidelines are intended to help local school districts and communities evaluate environmental health issues in establishing site selection criteria and conducting effective environmental reviews of prospective school sites. The guidelines recommend public involvement throughout the selection process to help ensure community support for these decisions.
EPA developed the guidelines in consultation with other federal agencies, states, school districts, teachers, community organizations, and health care professionals, as well as environmental justice, children’s health and environmental groups, among others.
- Visit the School Siting Guidelines website
- View, download and print the guidelines
- Get answers to your questions about the guidelines
Other Federal and State School Programs, Models and Policies
- U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Program
- Federal Resources for Educational Excellence - Teaching and Learning Resources from Federal Agencies
- Iowa Department of Education
- Kansas Department of Education
- Missouri Department of Education
- Nebraska Department of Education
- Florida Green School Awards Program (PDF) (8 pp, 389K, About PDF)
- Connecticut Laws on School Indoor Environmental Quality
- Project Learning Tree® provides environmental education, professional development, and curriculum materials to PreK-12 teachers