Step 2 - Environmental Audit
The Environmental Audit is an essential tool for understanding the current environmental situation in your school. It will provide the basis for your Eco-Action Plan.
Why do an Environmental Audit?
Before you can begin to make improvements to your school, you need to know what the current environmental situation is. The Eco-Schools USA Environmental Review checklist can help to identify which of the pathways you should focus on, and which ones you may want to avoid as they require little or no improvement at your school. We recommend that you complete the checklist as a first step before completing one of more of the in-depth pathway audits.
The results of your pathway audit(s) will inform your Eco-Action Plan. Once you have determined what aspects need to be addressed, you can establish priorities and set realistic targets to measure your success.
How do we conduct the audit?
During an Eco-Action Team meeting complete the Environmental Review Checklist. Review your answers, and then as a team determine which of the pathway audits you would like to complete. The EA Team should be responsible for determining a strategy to implement the audit, and should work hard to include and keep the whole school informed about the process. It is particularly essential that students play a primary role in this audit. Don't forget that your greater school community is full of resource specialists that can also help with the audit.
Environmental Review Checklist
Pathway specific audits:
All eight of these topics should be investigated during the audit. The Eco-Schools USA Audit checklist contains a series of 'yes/no' questions and space for providing comments.
Do you have an audit form my students can use to evaluate their home?
Yes! We suggest you print off this ecological footprint calculator and send it home with students.
Eco-Schools Tip: Your school should conduct the audit in the way that suits you best, but you should ensure maximum student involvement at every stage. One of the most important aspects of the audit is to make sure that the results are well documented, displayed and disseminated. The school's website or notice board is a great place for publicizing and sharing results.
Eco-Schools USA recommends that an Environmental Audit be carried out annually in order to measure and evaluate improvement in your school's environmental performance. This is a very effective way to evaluate your targets and is a requirement for obtaining Green Flag status. It's also a great way to show progress and determine next steps.
Once you have completed your Environmental Audit, use the results to complete Step Three - the Eco-Action Plan.
- A formal or informal environmental audit of the school is conducted. Schools can develop their own criteria or use the Eco-Schools USA Audit checklist.
- A formal environmental audit of the school is completed (utilizing the Eco-Schools USA Audit checklist), and findings are documented.
- Students play an active role in conducting the environmental audit.
- Results of the audit are shared with the whole school.
Green Flag Award
- A formal and comprehensive environmental audit of the school is completed (utilizing the Eco-Schools USA Audit checklist), and findings are documented.
- Students play an active role in conducting the environmental audit and engage resource specialists from their community.
- Results of the audit are shared with the whole school and wider community.
- An environmental audit is conducted every year to evaluate overall progress.