Based on years of research by the Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University, The Whole-School Sustainability Framework illustrates how every school can establish the conditions necessary to support their journey toward sustainability across all three pillars set forth in the Green Ribbon Schools criteria. Successfully advancing whole-school sustainability requires districts to not only change practices and policies but also culture. This framework helps school leaders and community advocates to focus in on those necessary cultural shifts.

The framework is organized into the three components of schools: organizational culture, physical place and educational program. Within these three components, there are a total of nine principles identified. The report defines each principle, gives relevant research findings (social science, business, education and building science fields), and includes a short case study of a school or district.

This report was published by the Center for Green Schools at the US Green Building Council in collaboration with IBE.


Citation: Barr, S., Cross, J., Dunbar, B. (2014). The Whole School Sustainability Framework. Retrieved from Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University website: