During the 85th Legislative Session I was able to help establish the Green Schools Caucus in the Texas Legislature. The Green Schools Caucus is a bipartisan group that works to promote green schools that save money, provide healthy learning environments and encourage local job creation. The caucus held its first meeting on May 18, 2017.
Green schools look to reduce environmental impacts and costs by implementing the best practices to reduce the costs for energy, water, maintenance, and waste. Between 2015 and 2018, green schools in the United States are estimated to have saved $1.2 billion on energy costs. Another important aspect of green schools is working to improve occupants' health and performance. For increased student performance, Texas school districts have shown improving indoor air quality in seven times more cost effective than reducing class size. The number of green schools has grown by 24 percent since 2010. As of February 2017, there are nearly 131 green schools in Texas.
Before the next Legislative Session in 2019, the caucus will be working to collect research for the best practices in green school construction, provide resources for caucus members to help educate the public about green schools, and study green school legislation in other states in order to develop legislative opportunities for the caucus members. The Texas House of Representatives adopted House Resolution 2090 during the Legislative Session to express its support for green schools and encourage all Texans to learn more about the advantages they provide. The caucus will work to build its membership and accomplish its goals over the interim period.