Rhode Island can take on climate change, make school facilities safe and healthy for students and the school community, create good union jobs, and save school districts millions of dollars in energy costs.

Many Rhode Island public school buildings are in dire need of basic repairs and upgrades, including antiquated heating and air conditioning systems, leaky and deteriorating rooftops, poor ventilation, crumbling ceilings, and rotted pipes and lead service lines. The list goes on. These conditions not only risk the health and safety of our children and teachers, but they can also lead to poor learning outcomes. Often, schools in the worst condition exist in low-income communities of color, where decades of disinvestment can translate into lower graduation rates and higher asthma rates.

School buildings should be healthy and safe for students and staff. Now is the time to make our schools a model for carbon-free buildings and advance the effort to combat climate change. As Rhode Island considers effective pathways to decarbonize buildings, we can start with every public K-12 school building in the state.

It’s time to fully transition our schools into the clean energy future with good, skilled union jobs. pathways to family-sustaining union careers for people in communities of color on the frontlines of climate change. An investment in our children and workers is an investment in our communities. Let’s make a real impact on carbon emissions while addressing long-standing problems in our school buildings.


  • Click here to read and sign our letter to Rhode Island decisionmakers.  
  • Click here to learn about Climate Jobs Rhode Island’s Green and Healthy Schools campaign and support their efforts to decarbonize all public school buildings in Rhode Island by 2030.
  • Talk to your community!  Email Erica@climatejobsri.org

Number of schools:
Our state is home to 311 schools. The majority are public elementary schools. The approximate average age of the school buildings is 56 years.

Child health impacts:
Rhode Island is ranked 9th in the country for childhood asthma, with a 10.9% childhood asthma rate.

Total CO2 from schools statewide:
Our schools emit approximately 105,913 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year, which is the same as 23,024 cars.

Total energy costs:
School districts statewide spend approximately $35.2 million per year on school energy costs for electric, natural gas, and heating oil.

Potential to save:
We could save approximately $35.2 million per year if all energy demand is fully met by on-site renewable energy production.

Estimated CO2 saved:
We could save 105,913 metric tons of CO2 equivalent by decarbonizing our schools — which would have the same effect as taking around 23,025 cars off the road.

Estimated job creation:
Transitioning all Rhode Island K-12 public schools to net-zero would create a total of 11,209 direct jobs over a total of nine years.

How You Can Help: Green and Healthy Schools RI

  • Contact Governor McKee (governor@governor.ri.gov) and your own legislators (look up and then find contact info for your senator and your representative) to encourage them to support the 2022 School Construction Bond, H-7125 by Representative Potter.
  • Sign your organization on to our letter of support: http://bit.ly/GreenHealthySchoolsRI
  • Join our Google group for updates

To learn more, contact Erica Hammond, Climate Jobs RI at erica@climatejobsri.org or at 401-751-7100.