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New York City Department of Education and School Construction Authority Unveil NYC Green Schools Guide and Rating System

Introduced just yesterday through a joint effort from the Department of Education and School Construction Authority, the New York City Green Schools Guide and Rating System (“GSG”) will apply to all new school construction, modernization, and renovation projects in the five boroughs. The GSG and Rating System is based on LEED, but also incorporates elements from the Collaborative for High Performing Schools Rating System (developed by Washington, Massachusetts, and New York States) and the School Construction Authority’s Best Practices. It’s intended to complement Local Law 86 (which mandates LEED Silver for most public projects in New York City) and, according to Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, is one of the nation’s first (and certainly the largest) school districts to create and implement a green rating system for schools.

While LEED for Schools is going through its balloting stage (the final step towards approval before formal introduction), it appears that USGBC is giving municipalities a window of opportunity to create their own school district rating systems. Transforming LEED into a district-specific rating system makes a lot of sense, provided that a district (like New York City) is of sufficient size to devote time and resources towards doing so. Copies of the GSG and Rating System will be available for download shortly from nyc.gov; I’ll provide a link once the system is posted.

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