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Labor Leading on Climate Initiative

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The Labor Leading on Climate Initiative advances knowledge, policies, and practices to enhance the role of labor and working people in addressing the environmental and climate crises.

Estimating and Understanding Bridgeport Public School Emissions through a Carbon-Free Healthy Schools Tool

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Avalon Hoek Spaans

James Granata

Labor Leading on Climate researchers, Avalon Hoek Spaans and James Granata of Cornell University’s ILR School launched a geospatial dashboard last week to analyze Bridgeport, Connecticut’s public school emissions and environmental health issues. This tool was developed in collaboration with the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs to support the Carbon-Free Healthy School campaign, which aims to decrease energy spending, create a safer school environment, develop good union jobs, and lower emissions.

The research analyzed 37 schools in the Bridgeport Public School District and found that these schools enroll a total of over 20,000 students and take up an estimated area of over 3.8 million square feet. The research team found that the Bridgeport Public District budgets an average of $5 million each year on energy costs. The average age of Bridgeport schools is  59 years old and the maximum age of a building is 126 years old. By calculating estimated emissions, the researchers found that these schools potentially account for 4.5% of all Connecticut public school emissions. From School Facility Surveys a proportion of these schools reported at least one environmental health issue, such as ventilation or moisture issues. With the current and future risk of heatwave exposure expanding as climate change progresses, the Cornell team also mapped existing schools with a lack of reported air conditioning systems to further understand this risk. 

You can explore the dashboard here. The dashboard is best utilized on a desktop or laptop computer. For more information on this data tool, please contact Avalon Hoek Spaans of the Labor Leading on Climate Team.