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Division of the Sate Architect

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Flex Your Power!
 The Division of the State Architect's Sustainable Schools Resource


It is important to consider material efficiency in the design, construction, and renovation of schools. Material efficiency refers to durable, reused, salvaged, refurbished, recycled content, and recyclable materials manufactured using environmentally friendly practices. The end result is schools that are environmentally responsible models to both their students and their community. Material efficiency can often save schools money by reducing the need to buy new materials and by reducing the amount of waste taken to the landfill. Schools can reduce the amount of materials needed by reusing onsite materials, eliminating waste created in the construction and demolition process, and choosing materials that are safe, healthy, aesthetically pleasing, environmentally preferable, and contain low embodied energy. This section will be focusing on the environmental and energy related aspects of material use. For more information on the health and safety aspects of materials, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) containing materials, please refer to the Indoor Environmental Quality section of this website.

Further Subtopics

Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste Management
Building and Resource Reuse
Recycled Content Materials
Rapidly Renewable Materials
Sustainably Harvested Wood Products
Recycling Infrastructure
Materials and VOCs (IAQ link)

Featured Resources

Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)
(Best Practices Manual Volume 2: Interior Surfaces and Finishes Section & Building Enclosure and Insulation Section) CHPS aims to facilitate the design of high performance schools in California - environments that are not only resource efficient, but also healthy, comfortable, well lit and contain the amenities needed for a quality education. CHPS has developed a set of Best Practices Manuals (available at to create a new generation of high performance school facilities in California.

California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) - Green Building Materials
CIWMB's website provides a discussion and recommendations on material use and choice for sustainable building projects as well as products directories that identify products with environmentally beneficial attributes.

California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB)- School Waste Management & Education and Assistance
OIEE works with local agencies both in the education of California's children and assistance to school districts with respect to solid waste management programs.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG)
This website contains information on the CPG and EPA's Recovered Materials Advisory Notices (RMANs), which recommend recycled-content levels for CPG items.

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