about priorities in the field and how we might
understand schools’ progress toward educating
all students for sustainability and environmental
Similar to the environmental impact and health
frameworks, the cataloguing and analysis of
framework elements tells us what topics are
popular but not necessarily what is ‘right’ or what
has the greatest impact. This step lends greater
clarity to our collective work, but it is not an
answer unto itself.
How Can We Test Our Assumptions?
Each of the frameworks we analyzed contains a
set of assumptions about which actions schools
can take that will yield certain results. At USGBC,
given our focus on the built environment, we are
increasingly differentiating between performance
outcomes for buildings and
strategies to help building owners
get to those outcomes.
Clearly-defined and shared
outcomes are a unifying force
for any market where many
players are active. While different
organizations with varying theories
of change can and should offer
schools different strategies, those
same organizations can agree on
shared outcomes to make their
collective effort more powerful.
In the green building arena, major
outcomes include energy use
reduction, water use reduction,
waste reduction to landfill,
reduction of transportation
impacts, and beneficial human
experience (including both
satisfaction and indoor air
quality). USGBC has launched a
web platform, Arc, which allows
all building owners to record
outcomes, benchmark, and then—
importantly—analyze the results
alongside the strategies they used
to get there. Why did the building
use less energy last month? What
action resulted in worse air quality?
Which employee programs helped
reduce transportation impacts?
These are critical questions for the
green building movement that can be answered
by comparing actions with measured results.
The green schools movement asks these critical
questions as well. Which strategies can a student
green team focus on to have the biggest impact
ols efforts at a summit at USGBC offices in February 2015,