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​Pillar One: Reduced Environmental Impact

Pillar One focuses on reducing environmental impact. This includes:

  • Energy conservation and efficiency;
  • Improved water quality, efficiency and conservation;
  • Reduced waste production, improved recycling and composting programs; and
  • Use of alternative transportation to, during and from school.

Energy Conservation and Efficiency

Thinking of renovating or building a new school? The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) PlanCon staff can provide information on the reimbursement incentives offered for Renovate vs. Replace and LEED Certification. More information regarding School Construction and Facilities at PDE is located on the PDE website.

Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) promotes energy efficiency worldwide to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment, and greater energy security. Their Green Schools web page engages students in creating energy-saving activities in their schools, using hands-on, real-world projects.

Center for Green Schools - The Center for Green Schools was established to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable and healthy places to live, learn, work and play. They believe that everyone, from the kindergartner entering the classroom to the Ph.D. student performing research in a lab, should have the ability to learn in green buildings.

Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy - A comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and selected federal incentives that promote renewable energy.

Delaware Valley Green Building Council - Formed in 2001, The Delaware Valley Green Building Council is a chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, the nation's foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and work.

DesignLights Consortium - The DesignLights Consortium promotes quality, performance and energy efficient commercial sector lighting solutions through collaboration among its federal, regional, state, utility, and energy efficiency program members, luminaire manufacturers, lighting designers, and other industry stakeholders throughout the US and Canada.

Energy Savers – Ways to save energy

Energy Star - provides a proven strategy for energy management developed by the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Website offers guidelines for school districts to help them take control of energy costs, demonstrate sound fiscal management, and help protect the environment. The website also features ENERGY START Portfolio Manager, a free online tool to measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

Green Building Alliance of Pittsburgh - Green Building Alliance (GBA) is the regional chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, serving three branches: Greater Pittsburgh, Laurel Highlands, and Northwest Pennsylvania.

National Institute of Building Sciences – The Institute's mission to serve the public interest is accomplished by supporting advances in building sciences and technologies for the purpose of improving the performance of our nation's buildings while reducing waste and conserving energy and resources.

New Buildings Institute - Founded in 1997, New Buildings Institute (NBI) is a nonprofit organization working to improve the energy performance of commercial buildings.

Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships - NEEP was founded in 1996 as a non-profit whose mission is to serve the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to accelerate energy efficiency in the building sector through public policy, program strategies and education. Our vision is that the region will fully embrace energy efficiency as a cornerstone of sustainable energy policy to help achieve a cleaner environment and a more reliable and affordable energy system.

Save Our Land, Save Our Towns has joined with EPA, the National Historic Trust, PDE, and PSBA in looking at cost saving alternatives to new construction.

US Green Building Council - USGBC is made up of tens of thousands of member organizations, chapters and student and community volunteers that are moving the building industry forward in a way that has never been seen before. They are a diverse group of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofits, teachers and students, lawmakers and citizens that share the same vision of a sustainable built environment for all within the next generation. They consist of 76 chapters, 12,870 member organizations and 197,000 LEED professionals strong.

USGBC Central PA Chapter - The USGBC Central Pennsylvania Chapter was originally founded as the Green Building Association of Central Pennsylvania which was formed in 1997 by design and construction professionals who recognized the need to educate themselves and their colleagues about sustainability. They are a member organization with a broad-based constituency including architects, engineers, builders, contractors, developers, financiers, facility managers, government officials, interior designers, landscape architects, specifiers, realtors, urban planners, consultants, educators, and environmentalists.

Sustainable Transportation

Case Studies from the US Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center – Alternative Fuels Data Center.

National Biodiesel Board - The National Biodiesel Board is the national trade association representing America's first Advanced Biofuel. The group works to create sustainable biodiesel industry growth through education, communication, governmental affairs, technical and quality assurance programs.

National Center for Safe Routes to School - Improving children's safety while walking and bicycling is a central mission of Safe Routes to School.

US Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center – List of incentives, laws, and regulations related to alternative fuels and advanced vehicles for Pennsylvania.

Water Quality

The Groundwater Foundation - We educate people and inspire action to ensure sustainable, clean groundwater for future generations.

Stormwater PA - is a go-to resource for the most current information and effective, proven techniques in stormwater management.

WaterSense – WaterSense, a partnership program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeks to protect the future of our nation's water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes, and services.


EAPEAT, a program of the Green Electronics Council - EPEAT is an easy-to-use resource for identifying high-performance, environmentally preferable products. Join hundreds f businesses, schools, hotels, hospitals and governments around the world that trust EPEAT to help them make informed purchasing decisions. By using EPEAT to purchase greener electronics, you can show progress toward your sustainability goals and build your environmental reputation.

Green Seal - is a nonprofit organization that uses science based programs to empower consumers, purchasers, and companies to create a more sustainable world.

PDEP Schools Chemical C​leanout Campaign (SC3) – A primary objective of the Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign (SC3) is to raise awareness of the potential dangers posed by mishandled chemicals in schools. The program aims to prevent future problems with mishandled chemicals by encouraging responsible chemical management practices. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to prevent damage to human health and the environment such as that caused by school chemical incidents. Since 2011 the SC3 has facilitated the disposal of over 30,000 pounds of out of date, excess, and high risk chemicals from schools throughout Pennsylvania.