As the Colorado chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council prepares for the 9th annual Green Schools Summit on November 6, the organization is recognizing the top green school districts in the state for their efforts in sustainability initiatives and green-building facilities.

“Colorado school districts have made incredible headway to create healthier and more sustainable schools,” said Patti Mason, executive director, USGBC Colorado. “With the Green Schools Summit approaching, it is important that we are aware of the amazing work that is being done, as well as future programs that will further advance the green schools initiative.”

• Denver Public Schools: DPS is currently creating a garden curriculum that connects to science, literacy and math. Teachers are being educated on how outdoor gardens can be incorporated into their existing lesson plans.

In addition, substantial support from the Colorado Energy Office and Xcel Energy has facilitated the completion of energy and lighting audits in many schools in the district. These audits will determine what sort of efficiency upgrades will produce the highest cost and biggest energy savings for each school.

• Douglas County School District: DCSD students are focusing on how to reduce the amount of trash they produce. The district has developed several different programs to reduce DCSD’s contribution to the landfill, such as the implementation of single-stream recycling for their plastics, aluminum/tin, glass, milk cartons, cardboard and paper. In addition, DCSD is continuing its low-idle program, in which bus drivers and student commuters are encouraged to turn off their vehicles when sitting in school traffic to reduce gas emissions into the environment.

• Boulder Valley School District: This district has shown exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green-career pathways. This year, BVSD is building four new net-zero energy buildings (buildings that produce as much energy as they consume) and improving energy efficiency in all existing buildings.

The Green Schools Summit is an annual education and networking event hosted by USGBC Colorado and organized by a dedicated group of volunteers from the Green Schools Initiative. It is Colorado’s only conference dedicated to convening green-building industry professionals, school decision makers, educators and parents.