Author Archives: Wanda

Dunbarton High School Named Greenest School on Earth

Congratulations to Dunbarton High School in Pickering, Ontario, Canada, for earning the title of the 2015 Greenest School on Earth. This annual competition, sponsored by the Global Coalition for Green Schools (an initiative of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC), recognizes a K-12 school for achievement in its environmental impact, human health and ecoliteracy.

I was honored to be one of the judges for the competition and amazed at what these schools are doing to make a difference in their school and the world. Choosing a single winner was extremely difficult. While reviewing submissions, the jury discovered so many incredible things being done around the world. Dunbarton emerged the winner because of its success meeting each of the three pillars of the competition.

Because the buildings were built in the 1960s, the school focused its efforts to reduce environmental impact on inexpensive retrofits (paid by fundraising efforts from the Environmental Club) and behavioral changes that involve students, teachers, faculty, staff, and the community. I love the fact that the school plans to spend a portion of the prize money on a garden that will be 20% for its own use and 80% for the local food bank.

For the human health component, the school is looking long-term, with a seven-year campus biodiversity program to provide trees to shade an outdoor classroom. The commitment to health continues with providing nutritious options in the cafeteria and vending machines, as well as water fountains with reusable water bottles.

One of the initiatives that separated Dunbarton from the rest is how it’s addressing the remaining pillar – ecoliteracy. Students take what they learn and apply it to their school. For example, science classes monitor school and campus air quality, local stream water quality and school electricity use. The students then use this data to create a conservation plan.

Congratulations Environmental Council

​Pickering Area Trustee Chris Braney congratulating the Environmental Council on their award – Greenest School on Earth.

Seeing the resourceful leadership that went into these entries reinforces our sense of pride in being a partner with the Center for Green Schools. To support the Center and their initiatives, including the Greenest School on Earth competition, go to and check out Shaw Contract Group’s Cut & Compose collection, 3 tile and 2 broadloom styles for which we are donating 1.5% of the proceeds to the Center for Green Schools.


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The Edgeless School Showcases Design for Better Learning

What is your best memory from school? Do you think the design of the space affected the learning experience? AIA New York Chapter, in collaboration with the Committee on Architecture for Education and the Center for Architecture Foundation, present an exhibition called The Edgeless School: Design for Learning. Curated by Thomas Mellins, The Edgeless School: Design for Learning presents nineteen 21st century school buildings from across the U.S. that blur distinctions between learning needs, approaches, and environments. This exhibition will run at The Center for Architecture in New York City starting today through January 19.

Shaw Contract Group is a global design leader, manufacturing high performance cradle-to-cradle flooring products ideal for any learning environment. We believe design goes beyond aesthetics. Our education studio focuses on the needs of students, faculty and maintenance experts, designing flooring solutions for maximum comfort, ease of maintenance, durability and performance. Shaw Contract Group’s EcoWorx tiles are completely recyclable and PVC-free, making product reclamation and recycling easy and allowing customers to reduce their environmental impact. Shaw Contract Group’s Light Series collection was inspired by the role that color and light plays in student achievement. This collection, which is highlighted in The Edgeless School space, infuses pattern and light to influence attitudes, engage students, and stimulate minds.

Photo: AIA NY

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Support Schools on Green Apple Day of Service

On September 29, 2012, the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council will host the first annual Green Apple Day of Service. For one day, advocates from around the world will come together in support of healthy, sustainable schools by taking action in their community. When you look at our educational spaces, you see outdated buildings in need of repairs, burdened with unsafe toxins, dwindling budgets and outdated resources – in place of opportunity and progress. The Center for Green Schools was established to drive the transformation of all learning environments into safe, engaging, and comfortable facilities that enhance kid’s ability to learn and teacher’s ability to teach.

To register your school or to find a participating school near you, got to  Stay tuned to see how Shaw Contract Group will lend a hand in support of schools.


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Getting PVC Out of Schools

The fight for PVC-free schools just got that much stronger. In April, PVC-free school policies were endorsed by one of the nation’s largest educational labor federations: NYSUT (the New York State United Teachers). NYSUT represents more than 600,000 employees and retirees from New York State schools, colleges, and healthcare facilities.

Shaw Contract Group ended the use of the PVC in our products in 2006. Since then, backings like EcoWorx – the industry’s first fully sustainable, non-PVC carpet tile backing –  have been a much more healthy and sustainable solution. Learn more about our sustainable carpet solutions for schools in our education brochure.

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Sustainable Schools Could Improve Student Test Scores

A recent survey conducted by University of Colorado Denver’s Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences shows a positive correlation between student achievement in science and sustainable, high-performance school practices. The data was collected from a nationwide study of 100 schools in 28 states that have each implemented “green” school practices, including environmental literacy and sustainability curriculum. Student achievement data was gathered from recent assessment scores in science from state department of education websites as well as the survey.

Schools that took part in the survey observe GreenPrint core practices as defined by the Green Schools National Network (GSNN). The core practices are:

  • Curriculum that advances environmental literacy and sustainability
  • Stewardship and service learning
  • Sustainable facilities design and management
  • Health and well being
  • Strong partnerships and networks

To find more information about the importance of sustainable schools in the United States, Bryan Shao-Chang Wee, PhD, assistant professor of environmental science education, and his team of researchers would like to do further research by refining the survey and obtaining a larger sample. The researchers would also like to visit “green” schools to collect more data and determine whether the GreenPrint core practices have any relationship to subjects such as reading, writing, social studies and math.

Arizona State University Polytechnic Academic Complex in Mesa, AZ is LEED-certified and features Shaw Contract Group's Parody tile carpet

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