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Energy-efficient School Design Lowers Operation Costs, Increases Test Scores and Improves Indoor Air Quality
Great news... green schools are great! :-) Ask for your school to go green! You can make a difference for your children...
Study shows going green saves schools $100,000 a Year, improves test scores, and improves health of students and teachers! Wow...tell us more!
While "building green" is a long term strategy, "going green" is an immediate change in the maintenance and procedures that can be implemented in every school. A lot of going green is common sense. See SoCalGreen.org for an overview of techniques that help everyone improve common sense, green choices.
A new national report, Greening America’s Schools, finds that building "green" would save an average school $100,000 each year - enough to hire two new additional full-time teachers.
“This study underscores the enormous cost of poor design and the critical impact that good design and operation has on the quality of our children’s education,” said AIA President Kate Schwennsen, FAIA. “The findings indicate that there are tremendous benefits from energy-efficient school design, not only from an economic standpoint, but from increased student test scores and far healthier environments through improved indoor air quality.”
The report breaks new ground by demonstrating that green schools - schools designed to be energy efficient, healthy and environmentally friendly -- are extremely cost-effective. Total financial benefits from green schools outweigh the costs 20 to 1. With over $35 billion dollars projected to be spent in 2007 on K-12 construction, the conclusions of this report have far-reaching implications for future school design.
Sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers, the American Institute of Architects, the American Lung Association, the Federation of American Scientists and the US Green Building Council, the report includes a detailed analysis of 30 green schools built in 10 states between 2001 and 2006.
The analysis demonstrates that the total financial benefits of green schools are 20 times greater than the initial cost, and include energy and water savings, and improved student health and test scores. If all new school construction and school renovations went "green" starting today, energy savings alone would total $20 billion over the next 10 years. Some of the major benefits documented in Greening America's Schools include:
Green schools typically have better lighting, temperature control, improved ventilation and indoor air-quality which contribute to reduced asthma, colds, flu and absenteeism… helping improve learning, test scores and lifetime student earnings.
Greening all school construction would create over 2000 additional new jobs each year from increased use of energy efficiency technologies.
Additional benefits calculated in the report include improved teacher retention and a reduction in dangerous air-pollutants that cause respiratory disease and premature mortality.
Specific school findings include:
Study author Greg Kats, a former Director of Finance for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the US Department of Energy, has worked with dozens of corporations, developers, state agencies and organizations to arrive at conservative cost/benefit comparisons of different environmental and building strategies. In Greening America's Schools, Kats emphasizes that the financial benefits of green schools are substantially broader than those quantified in the report and include the creation of new educational opportunities, improved equity in education and insurance savings.
"Building green schools," he writes, "is more fiscally prudent and lower risk than continuing to build unhealthy, inefficient schools."