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Cool School Challenge


Implement the Cool School Challenge at your school using the resources below. The Cool School Challenge is a great option for schools wanting to cut carbon emissions and reduce energy use through a structured, step-by-step process. The Challenge implementation guide provides detailed information on how schools can complete the Challenge over a suggested 40-day time period.

The Implementation Guide provides a comprehensive overview of the program, and outlines a step-by-step process.

These audit forms are designed for students in grades 3-6 and are an alternative to the grades 7-12 audit forms. However, please utilize the grade band audit forms you feel will work best for your students.

Includes audit forms designed for students in grades 7-12, and guidance on how carbon emission calculations can be done by hand or entered into the classroom carbon calculator.


Invite classrooms to participate in the Challenge.

Determine an action plan for each classroom participating in the Challenge. 

Let each classroom know their pledge by providing this pledge letter after conducting the audit and developing an action plan for the classroom.

 Let each classroom know how well they did by providing this result letter after tallying final results.

The sample timeline provided has been structured as a suggested, 40-day program,

How Does the Cool School Challenge Work?

With the guidance of a Challenge Coach, student teams learn how to conduct a classroom energy audit, and identify major sources of CO2 emissions and opportunities for shrinking them. The process aligns with the Eco-Schools USA Seven Step Framework, and involves the following steps:

What is the History of the Cool School Challenge?

The Cool School Challenge was developed in 2006 by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency in collaboration with Redmond High School environmental science teacher Mike Town, and Puget Sound Energy’s Powerful Choices for the Environment program.

Conceptually modeled after the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement, the Cool School Challenge aims to motivate students, teachers, and school districts to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. In 2009 the program received a Clean Air Excellence Award from the U.S. EPA, and in 2012 the program was transferred over to the National Wildlife Federation and incorporated into the Eco-Schools USA program.

Under the leadership of Dr. Ruth Guthrie, Professor of Computer Information Systems at California Polytechnic University, Ponoma, a team of students redesigned the carbon calculator, taking it online for schools across the nation to utilize.