The CHPS Core Criteria provides a template and basis for states and regions to create new or update existing adaptations of the CHPS Criteria. The Core Criteria addresses indoor environmental quality, energy and water efficiency, site, materials selection, strategies for integration and innovation, and operations and benchmarking.

The Core Criteria was originally developed by an ad-hoc committee of CHPS stakeholders in 2009 as both a framework and process to establish a national definition for healthy, high performance schools, and to encourage local flexibility. In addition, the Core Criteria represents a facilitated process to reduce the development time and expense of state and regional adaptations of the CHPS Criteria.

The Core Criteria identifies three top priorities of improving health and student performance; reducing operating costs; and mitigating environmental impacts, which are reflected in the point weightings, strategies, and focus of the Core Criteria. States or regional entities use the Core Criteria to build in regional/state priorities, local climate and code issues, and other regional variations that make each edition of the rating system unique.

Priority Outcomes of the Core Criteria

The Core Criteria was developed to achieve three priority outcomes, in order of importance:

  • Maximize the health, well-being, and performance of students, educators, and staff.
  • Conserve energy, water, and other resources to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and reduce operating costs.
  • Practice good environmental stewardship within schools to achieve community environmental goals.

The CHPS National Technical Committee has weighted the available point totals for prerequisites and credits in seven categories to reflect these three priorities.

    Core Criteria Framework

    The Core Criteria is divided into seven categories: Integration (II), Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ), Energy (EE), Water (WE), Site (SS), Materials and Waste (MW), and Operations (OM).

    Each category is comprised of prerequisites and credits. Prerequisites must be included as prerequisites in any future CHPS Criteria adaptation or update. Credits must be included in any future CHPS Criteria adaptation or update, but it is up to the state or region to decide if they are included as requirements for every project or as voluntary credits.

    Points are assigned to each prerequisite and credit. There are a total of 200 points in the CHPS Core Criteria that form the minimum points available for each item.

    Point Assignments in the Core Criteria
    CategoryCore Criteria % (Points)
    Integration (II)11% (22)
    Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ)33% (66)
    Energy (EE)24.5% (49)
    Water (WE)9% (18)
    Site (SS)8.5% (17)
    Materials & Waste (MW)6.5% (13)
    Operations (OM)7.5% (15)
    TOTAL100% (200)

    Each future CHPS Criteria adaptation or update must offer prerequisites and credits totaling 250 points. The additional 50 points are assigned at the discretion of the state or region. They may be distributed among existing prerequisites or credits or used in developing new prerequisites or credits. This means that 80 percent of the available points in any given CHPS Criteria adaptation will stem from the Core Criteria, while 20 percent are designated by the local CHPS Committee.

    Why Do Prerequisites Have Points?

    The prerequisites in the Core Criteria and the resulting regional/state editions of the CHPS Criteria have been assigned points for several reasons – 1) to reflect the impact and difficulty of simply meeting the prerequisites; 2) to allow for the weighting of criteria within a category and between the categories during the development process by the CHPS National Technical Committee and the local CHPS Committees; 3) to ensure the consistency and comparability of points between local adaptations of the CHPS Criteria i.e. if a criterion is a prerequisite in one state, but a credit in another it is worth the same number of points.

    Eligibility Levels

    There are 250 total points possible for the following CHPS project types:

    • New school construction
    • New buildings on an existing campus (classroom or non-classroom)
    • Major renovations/modernizations with or without Additions (classroom or non-classroom)

      New School (new site)

      In order to qualify as a high performance school, a new school must meet all of the prerequisites and earn at least 110 points.

      Replacement campuses are subject to “New School” requirements. A replacement campus project is defined as the replacement of all buildings on an existing school site, with all new buildings.

      New Building(s) on an Existing Campus

      In order to qualify as a new building on an existing campus, prerequisites shall be met based on the scope of the project and earn at least 110 points. In general, the more credits a project earns, the better it is, but the CHPS Criteria is a pass/fail system requiring a minimum score of 110.

      Major Renovation/Modernization with or without Additions

      In order to qualify as a major renovation/modernization project, prerequisites shall be met based on the scope of the project and earn at least 85 points.

      Major renovations/modernizations are defined by a substantial improvement to a school of at least two of the following building systems: lighting, HVAC, building envelope, interior surfaces, and/or site. A substantial improvement is when more than half the system or surfaces are being replaced or upgraded.

      Please note that additions on their own often do not contain enough work in the scope to qualify for the points needed for CHPS recognition. We encourage school teams to follow CHPS criteria as guidelines in these cases and incorporate as many of the practices as possible.

      Related Materials and Programs

      A compilation of all comments received during the two comment periods and the responses from the technical committee will be posted here soon.