May 14, 2009

Green School Construction Bill Passes the House with Lujan Amendment to Promote Sustainability, Energy Efficiency

Legislation will Promote Green Construction, Improve Energy Efficiency, Support Clean Energy Jobs

 

WATCH REP. LUJAN OFFER HIS AMENDMENT ON THE HOUSE FLOOR

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Ben Ray Luján voted in favor of the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public Schools Facilities Act that passed House of Representatives by a vote of 275 to 155. The legislation will encourage the development of a clean energy economy by providing funding for energy efficient school construction that will modernize schools, create clean energy jobs and improve school quality that will help student achievement. Rep. Luján’s amendment, included in the legislation, encourages energy efficiency savings and promotes sustainability by allowing for the construction of greenhouses, gardens, and other environmentally friendly facilities. This amendment will provide valuable opportunities for our students to learn environmental sustainability skills, train for clean energy jobs and benefit from improved energy efficiency.

“This legislation will renew the foundation of our nation’s public school systems by rebuilding our critical educational infrastructure,” said Rep. Lujan. “By providing assistance to our school districts for the construction of modern school facilities, we are creating a healthier, safer, and more energy-efficient learning environment for the next generation of Americans while supporting clean energy jobs in New Mexico.”

The 21st Century Green High-Performing Public Schools Facilities Act provides school districts with funding for school modernization, renovation, and repairs that create healthier, safer, and more energy-efficient teaching and learning climates. Funding through the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public Schools Facilities Act encourages the use of energy efficiency and renewable resources. The majority of funding must be used on projects that meet green building standards. The legislation will save money in the short-term and in the long-term through the use of green building techniques. Reports estimate that the legislation would support 136,000 new jobs.

Rep. Luján introduced his amendment with Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA). The amendment will permit funds under the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public Schools Facilities Act to be used for the construction of greenhouses and gardens as well as the planting of trees and greenery. Greenhouses and gardens contribute to students’ education in the areas of science, agriculture, biology, ecology and other environmental sciences, while helping prepare them for the jobs of the future. Research also shows that students are better able to concentrate and follow directions after spending time outdoors in natural settings. Moreover, the amendment will help school districts save money and reinvest in their classrooms. In addition to providing valuable educational experiences for our students, the amendment helps reduce cooling and heating costs and improves the environment of our schools. The amendment does not add any costs to the bill, but simply expands the type of activities that are eligible under the legislation. The amendment is endorsed by Green For All, a national organization dedicated to creating an inclusive green economy.

“Our amendment would improve energy efficiency and promote sustainability in our schools by encouraging the construction of greenhouses and gardens as well as the planting of trees and greenery,” said Rep. Luján. “Through this amendment, our schools will benefit from an improved environment, additional energy-efficiency, and valuable educational experiences for our students.”