The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, in collaboration with the Green Schools National Network, has announced the recipients of the 2023 Best of Green Schools Awards. The awards celebrate the leaders—individuals, schools, campuses, and organizations—advancing the groups’ shared vision of green schools.
“This year’s awardees represent the leading edge of a movement to guarantee a healthy, equitable, and sustainable education for every child,” said Jennifer Seydel, executive director at the Green Schools National Network. “They share our vision in which all children learn in healthy spaces, all educators are stewards of the planet, and all students graduate prepared to lead an equitable and just future.”
Some notable 2023 awardees include the following:
- The Italian campus of H-FARM International School, developed in previously abandoned buildings, is a self-sufficient building that encourages the use of green transportation. The school holds two dedicated sustainability days each year for students and has developed an ongoing student-led bee farm where it holds lessons for students and sells the honey produced at the hive to cover the project costs.
- CMTA has been engineering K-12 facilities for more than 50 years and has engineered some of the first net-zero energy schools in the U.S. The firm has since become a leading national voice for energy-efficient design of school buildings.
- Under the direction of its Energy and Sustainability team, the Newark Board of Education in New Jersey twice earned Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification in all 65 of its schools through initiatives such as board policies for green cleaning and green purchasing, as well as having dedicated green teams at each school.
- U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich from New Mexico introduced Senate Bill 4993, the Living Schoolyards Act, a pioneering bill that will introduce the concept of living schoolyards into the federal record. If passed, it would direct important federal resources and funding towards transforming school grounds into living schoolyards.
- Shiva Rajbhandari ran to be the first student ever to serve on the Board of Trustees for Boise School District in Idaho, running a grassroots campaign focused on green schools, expanding mental health services, and supporting teachers. During his time on the board, he has become a leading voice for climate action, student empowerment, and public education in Boise and across Idaho.
Covering 10 categories, the full list of 2023 awardees is available here.