Cool School Challenge

An Effective Practice


The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, in partnership with Puget Sound Energy and Mike Town of Redmond High School, has developed the Cool School Challenge, a climate education program designed to engage students and teachers in practical strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In the Cool School Challenge, student teams conduct energy audits of classrooms, assessing the greenhouse gas emissions of electricity use, waste and recycling practices, transportation, and heating. Classrooms then pledge to shrink their carbon footprint through simple but effective behavior changes, such as turning off one panel of lights, using durable coffee tumblers instead of disposable cups, or carpooling instead of driving alone. The Web-based program is designed for grades 7-12 and includes a Web site, a Challenge toolkit, classroom carbon calculator, classroom activities, and supplemental resources.

To introduce the program into schools, the partners offer free teacher training workshops throughout western Washington.

Goal / Mission

The goals of the Cool School Challenge are to:
* Educate young people, and by proxy their families, about climate change and everyday actions they can take to reduce their impact locally and globally;
* Reduce carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gas emissions in and around schools;
* Encourage student leadership and empowerment;
* Foster a community of teachers/students working together to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions; and
* Foster a new generation of environmental/air quality advocates.

Results / Accomplishments

Teacher training workshops have drawn nearly 200 teachers and educators. More than 30 schools have pledged to reduce their carbon footprints, reporting nearly 600,000 pounds in potential greenhouse gas reductions.

About this Promising Practice

Environment / Air
Education / School Environment
Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
Environmental Protection Agency
For more details
Target Audience