Building Your Green Team

By Rachel Gutter

We all know the phrase “the bottom line.” But have you heard of the Triple Bottom Line? It’s a common framework, used by some businesses and the green building movement, that measures an organization’s success through three filters: people, planet, and prosperity.

To be truly successful, according to this framework, an organization -- say, a school district -- must be ecologically sound, operate cost-effectively, and serve the people it was meant to serve.

At its very core, the sustainability movement is about intersections -- a meeting in the middle of best practices, commonsense decisions, and community and global priorities. “True green” is where social, environmental, and economic values intersect.

Undertaking a successful green school initiative requires people to meet in the middle, too. To green a district requires an integrated team that engages participants and identifies champions across departments and throughout the community.

Though many green school district efforts have grown out of facilities departments, other initiatives have roots in curriculum, finance, or food services. In other cases, school board members, principals, teachers, parents, or students have initiated the conversation.

No matter where you begin, bringing a green school district effort to scale will require the collaboration of experts with diverse responsibilities and perspectives. Establishing a “green team” will accelerate your district’s ability to make improvements to design, construction, operations, and educational instruction.

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