#EarthDay2023: How Florida Green Schools Supports the Earth With Conservation Efforts

#EHow Florida Green Schools Support the Earth

#EarthDay2023: How Florida Green Schools Supports the Earth With Conservation Efforts

#EarthDay is the one holiday each year when all residents of this beautiful planet can take a moment to evaluate their own actions and lifestyles and find new ways to protect, support, and conserve our one and only home.

Change can come from big and small places, and even students can make an impact. That’s proven by Florida’s Green Schools program, which promotes and celebrates Earth-supporting practices among schools. This Earth Day, let’s get inspired by the actions of many schools throughout our state enacting change, starting in the classroom.

Learning About Florida Green School Designation Program

The Florida Green Schools Designation Program, an initiative of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, was launched in 2016 as a way to encourage and recognize the K-12 schools that commit to conserving and protecting the Earth’s natural resources. The goals of the program are to implement lasting environmental practices in five areas:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Communication and education
  • Waste reduction, reuse, and recycling
  • Water conservation
  • Air quality

As a tiered designation system, schools can work their way up by adding Earth-friendly initiatives. The more initiatives completed, the higher tier a school can earn, with the highest tier being the coveted Green Apple, granted to schools that have implemented at least 17 initiatives.

The many benefits of earning a Florida Green School designation include access to resources to reduce energy, waste, and water bills and eligibility to compete for a nomination for the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools award. In addition to these benefits, making eco-friendly changes to schools has long-lasting benefits for school districts and the Earth.

The Impact of Solar

Energy efficiency is one of the five main areas of focus for the program, and resources for participating schools recommend finding ways to use “green power,” which includes on-site renewable energy such as solar panels.

Several schools have already implemented solar programs as a part of their mission to achieve the sought-after Green Apple status, including many Miami-Dade County public schools.

Switching to or supplementing with solar reduces and stabilizes energy consumption, lowering a school’s energy costs significantly for decades. This money saved can then be used to invest in teachers and staff, enhance new programs, update technology, etc.

How Florida Green Schools Are Protecting the Earth

The Florida Green Schools program is protecting the earth from multiple angles. In addition to encouraging clean, renewable energy, it also focuses on:

  • Reducing waste through recycling programs by reducing waste at the source, reusing and repurposing items to extend object lifetimes, and recycling as much waste as possible with on-site recycling programs
  • Conserving water by creating school-specific conservation plans, using special irrigation equipment and FL-friendly landscaping, installing low-flow water fixtures, etc.
  • Improving air quality by using environmentally friendly products, improving HVAC systems, and finding creative ways to offset carbon emissions
  • Improving transportation by encouraging walking/biking to school and carpooling, and investing in sustainable fleets

All of these efforts are promoting a sustainable future for generations to come by teaching our youngest generations the importance and value of small, sustainable gestures with a big impact.

Do Your Part

Whether you’re a teacher, administrator, parent, or even student, there are ways you can encourage your school to become a designated Florida Green School:

  1. Get buy-in from the school board and top school management
  2. Assemble a Green team to head initiatives, including staff and students
  3. Apply for designation as a Florida Green School
  4. Constantly evaluate performance
  5. Add initiatives to increase tier such as adding solar arrays

Whether you participate in the Florida Green School Initiative or not, you can always consider adding solar to your school as a way to stabilize energy costs. By purchasing a rooftop solar system today, you’re locked into 2023 prices. With electricity prices increasing steadily, it’s a smart investment that will pay out for decades.

Seeing schools make such great strides to protect and conserve our Earth should encourage you to celebrate this incredible place we call home with your everyday actions. How can you initiate change and make your lifestyle a little more eco-friendly?

If solar energy is calling you, reach out to Tampa Bay Solar. We’re ready to help.

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