Green Schools Initiative

Green Schools focus on multiple areas, all of which positively affect health and the environment. Taking steps to make your school and community a healthier place to be is essential for protecting children's health and improving their performance. School’s administrators, teachers, janitorial staff and students can all participate to address the environmental health of their school and natural resource conservation.

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  1. Reduce the environmental impact of school buildings, grounds and expenses
    When a school works to reduce the impact it has on the environment by conserving energy and natural resources it helps save money. When schools reduce their energy use the money saved can then be targeted toward student education. Water conservation efforts help decrease the burden on municipal water and wastewater treatment. Encouraging waste management efforts, such as recycling, reduces demand on local landfills which benefits the local community and region.
  2. Improve the health and wellness of students and staff
    Clean, quiet, safe, comfortable and healthy environments are important components of successful teaching and learning. Students learn better in healthy educational environments. Schools can promote student and staff health and performance by:
    • Improve indoor air quality
    • Remove toxic materials from places where children learn and play
    • Employ green cleaning practices
    • Employ strategies that direct natural daylight to the classrooms and
    • Improve classroom acoustics
  3. Provide education and increase environmental literacy into existing curriculum while actively participating in stewardship of our natural resources
    When schools engage students on natural resource issues, the students can better understand how daily choices in the products and services we consume impact the environment. As a result, they better appreciate the importance of our water, air, energy us, and healthy soil not to mention waste management, recycling, composting and reuse.

Take Home Point

Let's work together to further "Green" Missouri schools by teaching students how to be environmentally literate and take action!

  • A child’s developing organ systems are highly sensitive to environmental risk, and children are frequently more heavily exposed to toxic substances in the environment than are adults.
  • Children spend 90 percent of their time indoors and much of that time is spent in school.
  • Unhealthy school environments can affect children’s health, attendance, concentration and performance
  • Schools in better physical condition report improved academic performance while schools with fewer janitorial personnel and higher maintenance backlogs report poorer academic performance.

Let’s work together to further “Green” Missouri schools!

Missourians value our state's natural resources and the quality of life they provide. For more information, please email or call 573-522-2656.

800-361-4827 or 573-751-1300

Water is a critical factor in our daily lives. We cannot live without it. Seventy percent of the human body is composed of water. Water serves as a solvent for all living systems, carrying nutrients to cells and removing waste products. Your school and community can help conserve our water resources through basic efficiency programs while saving money for your school.

Visit the department’s Municipal Stormwater Program’s post-construction stormwater webpage. The webpage has a tremendous set of resources for green development that also fits well with the voluntary green building standards.

Missouri Guide to Green Infrastructure: Integrating Water Quality into Municipal Stormwater Management.

The Missouri Stream Team Program is a citizen science organization that helps to inform and educate citizens about the conditions of our streams; establish a water quality monitoring network; generate water quality data; and halt the degradation of Missouri streams. Join a Stream Team or establish your own and help improve Missouri’s streams. For more information, visit our Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program.

Matt Kliethermes, Environmental Specialist

Have you ever given much thought as to how clean water always arrives each time you turn on your faucet? There is considerable time and effort invested by many people, not to mention money, to make sure you have a safe and adequate water supply. Missouri is blessed with an abundance of high-quality water supplied by its many underground aquifers and major river networks. These sources provide Missourians with water not only for drinking but for a variety of household uses and other purposes. It is critical that water provided to the public be safe and abundant. Water conservation, using water efficiently and avoiding waste, is essential to ensure that we have adequate water today and into the future. Remember, when you save water, you save energy and money!

Additional water conservation resources:

Mark Leath, Environmental Engineer
DNR Air Pollution Control Program

Since 2009, the department has distributed millions of federal grant dollars through the Diesel Emission Reduction Act to upgrade hundreds and replace dozens of school buses operating in the state. When the department opens new diesel emission reduction act grant opportunities, the information is posted to the Air Pollution Control Program’s Webpage. The future of the Diesel Emission Reduction Act Funding (DERA) grant funding depends on U.S. congress appropriations each year. Schools can call to be added to distribution lists and talk about the process of partnering and applying for the grants. Schools can also contact the program if they want help or advice in developing anti-idling policies at their schools.

Additional healthy air resources:

Tony Pierce, Environmental Specialist
DNR Hazardous Waste Program

Protect the health of your students and school community by reducing your hazardous wastes. Hazardous wastes often go unrecognized in school classrooms and by school maintenance staff. Be better prepared to manage hazardous waste in your school by knowing where hazardous wastes could be found. Following are some of the more common hazardous wastes found in schools.

Solvents: Solvent waste can be generated in many areas of a school, including the science laboratory (acetone), industrial arts shop (polyurethanes, stains), art rooms (paint thinners), and maintenance departments (oil based paints).

Laboratory Chemicals: Science laboratories may contain numerous chemicals that are considered hazardous, including acids, bases and heavy metals. Highly toxic chemicals include mercury and its compounds. Chemicals that are known human carcinogens include arsenic, benzene, asbestos and certain chromium compounds. Flammable compounds include acetone, ether and xylenes. Reactive or explosive compounds include picric acid, potassium or sodium metal.

It is important to maintain a complete inventory of all laboratory chemicals. Reduce the quantity of chemicals used in science experiments by instituting microscale chemistry experiments, and substitute non-hazardous materials.

Additional hazardous waste resources:

Alan Cortvrient, State On-Scene Coordinator for Hazardous Materials

Be safe with school chemicals by keeping only what is needed, properly disposing of unneeded and old chemicals, and following good storage practices.

If a school has a liquid mercury spill, please call the department’s 24- hour spill reporting hotline (573-634-2436) as soon as possible. A team of trained cleanup specialists or “On-Scene Coordinators” are ready to assist with the cleanup of a spill in a school. A school can reduce the spread of a mercury spill by keeping people out of the area of the spill and have persons affected by the spill remove clothing and shoes that were in contact with the mercury. Leave these items in the room of the spill.

Additional resources:

No matter how you live, work, and play, everyone produces waste. Waste can be managed by practicing the three R’s; reducing, reusing and recycling. These actions are effective measures that serve as alternatives to disposing waste in landfills. The items most commonly recycled are paper, aluminum, glass, steel, cardboard, and yard waste. Most waste reduction efforts save money, energy, and natural resources, and can teach children and young adults how solid waste affects their lives and their environment.

Additional consumption and waste resources:

Chatchai Pinthuprapa, Project Manager
Department of Economic Development / Division of Energy

Schools can finance their energy efficiency projects with the Division of Energy’s low-interest Energy Loan Program. Loan funds are available to school districts every year. The Energy Loan Program funds projects that reduce energy use and cost. Popular projects include financing lighting upgrades, HVAC improvements, boiler upgrades and solar PV systems.

On average, school districts in Missouri save approximately $25,000 annually from energy efficiency projects through the Energy Loan Program. Since inception in 1989, the program has loaned more than $95 million to energy efficiency projects and created more than $176 million in cumulative energy savings. Schools repay the loan with the money saved on energy costs, freeing up valuable tax dollars for use on essential school services or other capital improvements.

Call to learn more about the program or to discuss possible energy products in your school district.

Division of Energy
Division of Energy's Energy Loan Program