In today's classrooms, the three R's might refer to reduce, reuse and recycle. Schools are major consumers and producers of waste, and many are assuming responsibility for instilling environmental values and practices in their students — the next generation of leaders — and serving as role models for their communities.

At universities and K-12 facilities, a tremendous movement is underway to create eco-friendly environments. Facility managers and school administrators are looking for innovative approaches to make a difference — easily, effectively and affordably. Administrators are using environmentally friendly technologies such as resource scheduling applications that deliver environmental benefits and enable education institutions to save money.

Because of increasing interest from students, parents, teachers and surrounding communities, schools and universities are adopting green initiatives. One major effort is the Go Green Initiative, which promotes social responsibility on campuses by minimizing energy consumption and paper usage, and promoting recycling, carpooling and electronic communications. More than 1 million students and teachers in 37 states, as well as Europe and Africa, are participating in Go Green. Harvard University and other colleges are creating their own Green Campus Initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint.

Economics is a key source of motivation in reducing energy consumption. According to a report by APPA, which serves education facilities professionals, “Utility costs make up a significant portion of campus operating budgets, running $1.50 to $2.00 per square foot on average. Most campuses manage millions of square feet, so even incremental savings can have a significant effect on the bottom line. Calls for improved energy resource management arise out of several long-term trends, including financial constraints, competition, student expectations, and accountability.”