Best of Green Schools

The Monarch School named “Best of Green Schools” Nationally by The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council    

In January, The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that The Monarch School in Houston, Texas was its 2014 Best of Green Schools” recipient. The award recognizes the best environmental efforts in schools across the country and highlights the national leaders and innovators in school sustainability for the year. The Monarch School is being recognized as the Best K-12 School category. 

“Selecting the Best of Green Schools honorees is an exciting and challenging process, as there are so many fantastic examples of efforts being made in communities large and small,” said Rachel Gutter, Director, Center for Green Schools. “Some of the honorees go about their work quietly, others are in public positions and have the attention of a national audience. Every one of the honorees is a leader, taking risks, setting an example for others, innovating and diligently pursuing a world in which every student attends a green school within the next generation. The Monarch School is so unique, the staff and faculty have created a haven for students to learn in a natural setting,” Gutter added.

Monarch is committed to providing a healthy environment in which to deliver education and services to individuals with neurological differences. Green building, sustainability and environmental education programs are examples of the commitment made by The Monarch School to it students when it began in 1997.


In 2013 Monarch completed two buildings on campus, the Butterfly Building and Monarch Center --both received LEED® Gold certification in June 2014. Monarch’s Chrysalis Building, built in 2009 received LEED® Gold in 2010. The campus achieved LEED® Gold for energy use, lighting, water, material-use, and other sustainable strategies including indirect lighting, soothing colors, clean air, and space designed specifically for individuals with neurological differences. The outdoor campus supports acres of project work for Environmental Education.

The Living Building Challenge Studio Classroom is the ultimate extension for Monarch sustainability efforts and is the first project in Texas built to meet the requirements of the Living Building Challenge (LBC). Only five certified Living Buildings exist in the world. The LBC is the most advanced measure possible of sustainability in the built environment. 

The studio classroom serves as an outdoor living classroom where student’s day-to-day interactive decision making will help the building achieve net zero energy and water performance. Monarch’s environmental program showcases solar energy, wind power and geothermal energy, and incorporate active water harvesting.

The Monarch School’s environmental education program offers students with special needs the opportunity to learn about environmental elements of our campus and share that knowledge of with their families and the greater Houston community. 

 “An important aspect of The Monarch School’s environmental education program is that it offers our students with special needs the opportunity to learn about the environmental elements of our campus, and as they learn they share the knowledge of how to be good stewards of the environment with their families and the larger Houston community,” said Dr. Debrah Hall, Head of The Monarch School and Institute for Neurological Differences.  “Ultimately, our environmental program will showcase three viable renewable energy sources—solar energy, wind power and geothermal energy, as well as incorporate active water harvesting. Students will conduct tours to educate the community about the value of these resources,” she said.

Monarch Student In the Community: