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July 30, 2009 - Joint letter - support for high-performance school modernization

July 30, 2009

The Honorable Tom Harkin                             The Honorable Thad Cochran
Chairman                                                      Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Labor,                                Subcommittee on Labor,
Health and Human Services, and Education     Health and Human Services, and Education
Senate Appropriations Committee                   Senate Appropriations Committee
The Capitol, S-128                                         The Capitol, S-128
Washington, D.C. 20510                                Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Cochran:

We, the undersigned organizations, write in strong support of the green high performance school modernization funds included in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

America’s school buildings are in desperate need of repair. A study released in December 2008 by the American Federation of Teachers estimates that school-infrastructure needs exceed $250 billion nationally. Too many of America’s children attend school in overcrowded buildings with leaky roofs, faulty electrical systems, and outdated technology--all of which compromise their ability to achieve, succeed, and develop the educational skills necessary for the workforce of the 21st Century.

The design, construction, and renovation of green schools can both improve the learning environment for students and create jobs. Green schools promote healthy, high-achieving students who can become future advocates for green living, as this generation learns the importance of building for a sustainable future.

In fact, according to a 2006 study by Capital E, green schools save on average $100,000 annually from reduced utility bills and operating expenses--enough money to hire a full-time teacher at a time when state and local education funding is in scarce supply. Improved energy and water efficiency from the installation of green features also promises long-term savings that can replenish the funds of school districts and put money back into taxpayers’ pockets.

Green schools are an investment in our collective future, ensuring that tomorrow’s leaders are prepared to meet the significant challenges our nation will face. As we work to steer our economy out of decline and toward a vibrant future, it is critical that we grasp this opportunity to ensure high-quality learning environments for our children.

For these reasons, we support the green high performance building provisions of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act and urge swift passage of this legislation.

Sincerely,

U.S. Green Building Council
The American Architectural Foundation
American Congress on Surveying and Mapping
American Institute of Architects
American Lighting Association
American Society of Civil Engineers
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers
American Society of Landscape Architects
The Blue Green Alliance
The Campaign for Environmental Literacy
Collaborative for High Performance Schools
The Council of Educational Facility Planners
Center for Environmental Innovation Roofing
Earth Day Network
Education Law Center
Environmental and Energy Study Institute
The Green Standard
Healthy Schools Campaign
Innovation Partnership
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
Mechanical Contractors Association of America
National Association of Energy Service Companies
National Audubon Society
National Association of State Energy Officials
National Institute of Building Sciences
National PTA
National Resource Defense Council
National Society of Professional Engineers
National Wildlife Federation
Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association
Plumbing Manufacturers Institute
Project FROG
Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Inc
Sierra Club
The Stella Group, Ltd
Window & Door Manufacturers Association
21st Century School Fund
CC: Senate Appropriations Committee