The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced its newest initiative, The Center for Green Schools at USGBC. There are nearly 140,000 schools, colleges, and universities in the United States, and thousands are barely built to code. The USGBC wants to ensure everyone in the current generation has the opportunity to attend a green school.

“The Center for Green Schools at USGBC is engaging educators in creating sustainable learning environments for their students and applying solid research to inform leadership—from school boards to college presidents—about the benefits of healthy, high-performing schools,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, chief executive officer, and founding chair of the USGBC.

The USGBC also has announced United Technologies Corp. (UTC) as the first founding sponsor of the center. Through UTC’s multi-year, multimillion-dollar financial commitment, the center will help hundreds of schools across the nation become green and more energy efficient and help build hundreds of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) registered education projects in the next few years.

UTC’s support will help the center enhance the USGBC’s efforts drive change in how schools are designed, constructed, and operated so that they enhance the learning experience for students and save money for school districts and higher education institutions.

Through the center, the USGBC is escalating its work on green schools-caucuses in the U.S. Congress and the 50 for 50 Initiative with state legislatures nationwide; the nationwide Mayors’ Alliance for Green Schools; and the Coalition for Green Schools, which represents more than 10 million members collectively and comprises organizations, such as the National PTA, the National School Boards Association, the National Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers. The center is creating new resources and advocacy tools to support USGBC Student Groups on college campuses and a nationwide network of more than 1,000 Green School Committee professional volunteers and is focused on providing training and helpful resources to those who need it most—K-12 schools serving lower-income families, under-resourced institutions and community colleges.

A Center for Green Schools Advisory Board and Honorary Advisory Board made up of green advocates, experts, educators, philanthropists, and other key stakeholders also has been formed. Current members include green-schools pioneer Jayni Chase, environmental activist and philanthropist Kelly Chapman Meyer, and author and environmental studies and politics professor David Orr. Honorary Advisory Board members include National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel and National PTA President Chuck Saylors.