The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) today released its third annual “Best of Green Schools” list.

"This list represents exemplary leadership from schools, campuses, students, policy makers, and more who are raising the bar when it comes to creating healthy, safe, and resource-efficient schools,” Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at the USGBC, said.

The recipients of Best of Green Schools honors for 2013 are:

K-12 School: Lady Bird Johnson Middle School, Irving, Texas. LEED Gold Lady Bird Johnson Middle School is the first net-zero-energy school in Texas. At 152,250 sq ft, it is the largest net-zero educational facility in the country.

Higher Education Institution: Emory University, Atlanta. Emory University has identified sustainability as a top priority to help restore the global ecosystem, foster healthy living, and reduce the university’s impact on the local environment. Emory has among the highest number of square feet of LEED-certified space of any campus in America.

Ambassador: Lori Braunstein, Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC). As director for green schools for the Philadelphia-based DVGBC, Braunstein has developed an effective and comprehensive strategy for engaging and supporting teachers, students, facilities managers, and administrators concerning sustainability programs in schools. Also, she initiated the statewide Pennsylvania Green & Healthy Schools Partnership to bring together key stakeholders from the green-building, environmental-education, and health-and-wellness fields.

Policy Maker: Colorado Sen. Andy Kerr. Kerr has been a strong proponent of green schools in Colorado for many years. In the spring of 2013, he helped to pass SB 13-279, requiring all school districts in Colorado to build new schools or reconstruct schools to the highest possible energy efficiency.

Moment for the MovementProposition 39, California Clean Energy Jobs Act. Under the Clean Energy Jobs Act, $2.5 billion will be directed toward energy-efficiency projects and repairs to promote healthy, high-performing schools in California over the next five years.

Business Leadership: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH). HMH was recognized for "helping to transform learning environments by driving the conversation around sustainability education and the Common Core." Also, HMH serves as a partner in the Center for Green Schools’ Green Apple program, making a financial contribution in honor of school customers who switch from physical to virtual textbook samples.

Community EventGreen Apple Day of Service event at Ducketts Lane Elementary School in Elkridge, Md. On Sept. 29, 2013, architectural firm Grimm + Parker joined Dustin Construction to coordinate a student-led scavenger hunt for environmental features in and around the new Ducketts Lane Elementary School. Stations were set up to demonstrate how the building and site are teaching tools.

Collaboration: Celebrate Sustainability. Every year, Virginia Tech, the town of Blacksburg, Va., and community organization Sustainable Blacksburg program a week's worth of events recognizing the sustainability achievements of the university and town over the previous year.

Transformation: Green Schools Academy, as led by Jenna Cramer, vice president of green schools for the Green Building Alliance. The Green Schools Academy brings together private, public, parochial, and charter schools to work toward a culture of sustainable and healthy schools for all children.

Student Leadership: Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council (BYSC), Fayette County, Ky. The BYSC is a project-based organization of students from Fayette County high schools. The BYSC meets monthly to discuss collaborative environmental outreach projects, partnership prospects, and leadership and post-secondary opportunities in all areas of sustainability, including energy management, outdoor classrooms, waste management, water quality, and air quality.