The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded the 2009 Excellence in Green Building Curriculum Recognition Awards and Incentive Grants to organizations and institutions spurring existing green-building-education projects, activities, or programs, and developing new green-building curricula. The initiative is a central component of USGBC’s commitment to identify and disseminate green-building curricula to educators across the country.

“Through this initiative, USGBC is recognizing those organizations that are taking the lead in the development of innovative green-building knowledge and resources,” Rebecca Flora, senior vice president for education and research of USGBC, said. “The extraordinary rise in green building in recent years has accelerated the need for relevant and engaging educational programs, and all of our participating organizations are playing an active role in helping USGBC meet this important need.”

Recognition Awards honor existing green-building-education projects, activities, or programs, and include a $1,000 honorarium. The Incentive Grants provide monetary support of $10,000 each for schools or organizations to develop new green-building curricula. The number of submissions increased more than 30 percent in 2009, a significant rise in the second year of the initiative.

“The growing interest and the impressive number of high-quality submissions indicates the program is reaching a wide range of educators from many disciplines and that curricula and programs across the country and at various stages in the education process are using green buildings as innovative teaching tools,” Margot McDonald, chair of USGBC’s Formal Education Committee and professor of architecture at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, said.

Winning organizations and institutions include a pre-K and kindergarten curriculum using the school’s LEED Platinum certification to educate students on the value of a green building; a community college’s efforts to expand an existing construction technology program to include a focus on alternative- and renewable-energy sources; and a multi-year architecture school’s initiative to create a net-zero-energy modular-classroom prototype that architecture students will use as design studio space, creating a living laboratory.

The recognition awards were judged on demonstrated success, ability to be replicated, scope of influence, advancement of green principles within the educational community, and the fostering of a collaborative or interdisciplinary approach. Grant proposals were evaluated on originality, collaborative or interdisciplinary approach, scope of influence, feasibility, and the ability to be replicated.

A complete list of award winners and grant recipients can be found on the USGBC’s Website.