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How Can You Help Your Child's School Go Green?

Conserving energy, water, and other resources is an important part of staying eco-friendly. But before you can fix wasteful practices in your school, you have to know about them. Ask the school to get in touch with the local energy utility about a site visit, or take advantage of EPA tools to help you to calculate the school's carbon footprint. Use the EPA's Climate Change Emission Calculator Kit (Climate CHECK for high schools) or Global Warming Wheel Card Kit (for middle schools) to examine connections between the "Greenhouse Effect" and everyday life at your school. You might also encourage your child to perform an energy, water, or waste audit of the school -- looking for things like inefficient lightbulbs that are left on, drafty windows and doors, and leaky faucets. In addition to providing a valuable service to the school, your child will be learning about key environmental concerns.

Talk to those in charge of supplying the school about purchasing energy-saving equipment and appliances. In the cafeteria, ask your school to look into buying produce from local growers. The administration might be more open to this kind of change if you do some research yourself and give them a list of possible suppliers.

Taking steps to reduce energy waste can be easy -- kids can encourage their teachers to turn off lights and other appliances when classrooms aren't in use, as well as computer monitors and printers. But some steps cost a lot of money -- replacing appliances, windows, and doors; fixing leaks; and changing lighting can be expensive. Don't let that discourage you. Try conducting a fundraiser specifically for making eco-friendly changes to the school. It will help to get even more people involved in your campaign.

If your area is planning to build a new school, it's the perfect opportunity to make investments in infrastructure that will improve the environment for the rest of the school's future. Lobby to use builders who are more aware of environmental concerns.



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