Studies have demonstrated the direct benefits of better lighting, air quality, acoustics and temperature control on student health and academic performance. Here is some of the available research about the benefits of green schools.
The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities has a comprehensive list of studies.
Forum on Urban Agriculture
In communities across America, urban agriculture is taking root as an innovative solution to increase access to healthy food, improve the economic and social health of the region and simultaneously contribute to a more sustainable food network. The educational mission of urban agriculture is furthered when it is located in K-12 schools and college campuses. These samplings of case studies invite further contribution of working urban agriculture examples from all across the United States. Contribute your comments and projects to: firstname.lastname@example.org
New and Retrofit Green Schools: The Influence of a Green School on Its Occupants
In the past three years, McGraw-Hill
Construction has seen tremendous
growth in the green education market. In
2008, McGraw-Hill Construction sized
the green building market share at 15%
of total construction starts by value. By
2011, that share had grown to 45%, a
market valued at $19 billion—the largest
sector for green by value.
Therefore, understanding and growing
the green education market is critical to
the growth of the green building market
This new market research study supports
this signifi cant market sizing, and it also
confi rms that the penetration of green
into the education sector is deep.
The Impact of School Buildings on Student Health and Performance
Jointly released with McGraw Hill Foundation, this paper is an accessible account of current research connecting school buildings with student health and performance. It also includes a summary of research needed and how individual groups (teachers and students, design professionals, government agencies, etc.) can help in the effort to draw connections between where students learn and their well being. Anyone who needs clear, defensible research to support the need for better, healthier classrooms will find the summary of research into how students breathe, see, hear, move and learn useful.
Climate Neutral Campus Report
USGBC and AASHE have partnered with Kyoto Publishing to create the second edition of the Climate Neutral Campus Report. This year’s report focuses on green building campus leadership from stakeholder groups including students, faculty, administration and facilities..
Acoustical Barriers to Learning
Acoustical Barriers to Learning, a study by the Technical Committee on Speech Communication of Acoustical Society of America, is a review of acoustics studies that examine the effects of classroom noise on performance.
Cost of Green Revisited
The Cost of Green Revisited (Davis Langdon, 2007) reveals that projects can and are achieving LEED certification not only within their budgets, but also within the same cost range as non-LEED projects.
Energy Performance of Daylit Schools in North Carolina
Energy Performance of Daylit Schools in North Carolina (Mike Nicklas and Gary Bailey, 1996) analyzes the energy performance and cost of daylit schools designed by Innovative Design in Johnston County, N.C. Sample findings include:
- Students in full-spectrum light were healthier and attended school 3.2 to 3.8 days more per year
- Libraries with superior light resulted in significantly lower noise levels
- Full-spectrum lighting induced more positive moods in students
- Because of the additional vitamin D received by the students in full-spectrum light, they had 9 times less dental decay and grew in height an average of 2.1 cm more than students attending schools with average light
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Green Cleaning in Schools: Summary of Selected State and
School District Policies
Environmental Law Institute's Green Cleaning in Schools: Summary of Selected State and School District Policies (2007) explores how "Green cleaning" can reduce environmental and health risks by a building’s occupants, while recognizing that cleaning products are necessary to maintain a sanitary environment in schools. It also summarizes selected state laws, proposed state legislation and school district policies that promote green cleaning in schools.
Green Schools: Attributes for Health and Learning
Green Schools: Attributes for Health and Learning is a report from the National Research Council that examines how the quality of indoor environments can affect the health and productivity of adults and children. It evaluates the potential of green school design for improving education and:
- Provides an analysis of the complexity of determining the potential health and productivity benefits
- Offers an assessment of the potential human health and performance benefits of improvements in the building envelope, indoor air quality, lighting and acoustical quality
- Presents an assessment of the overall building condition and student achievement
- Offers an analysis of and recommendations for planning and maintaining green schools, including research considerations
Heschong Mahone Daylighting Study
The Heschong Mahone Daylighting Study documents how more than 21,000 students showed a dramatic correlation between daylit school environments and academic performance, including:
- 20% faster progression in math
- 26% faster progression in reading
- Views out of windows increased performance by 5-10%
- View page
Smart Market Report: Education
McGraw Hill Construction’s Education Smart Market Report addresses the growing trends and market opportunities for green building in the education sector. Sample findings include:
- The concern for “improved health and well-being” is the greatest driver for school decision-makers in building green
- Fiscal advantages, including reduced operating costs, were cited as the most important triggers to faster adoption of LEED and green building in schools
- The education sector is the fastest growing market for green building
Study Into the Effects of Light on Children of
Elementary School Age
A Study Into the Effects of Light on Children of Elementary School Age – A Case of Daylight Robbery describes the effects of various lighting systems on elementary school students' dental health, attendance, growth and development, vision, and academic achievement.
Role of LEED in Higher Education
This report is a 2010 update to the “To LEED or Not to LEED” paper, outlining progress and changes in application of the LEED rating system in building policies at higher education institutions.
Greening the Bottom Line:
The Trend toward Green Revolving Funds on Campus (SEI)
Greening the Bottom Line, published by the
Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI) with
more than a dozen partner organizations,
brings to light current trends based on the first
survey ever conducted about GRFs in higher
education. Green revolving funds invest in
enhancing energy efficiency and decreasing
resource use, thereby reducing operating expenses
and greenhouse gas emissions. The cost savings
boost the bottom line and replenish the GRF for
investment in the next round of green upgrades.
LEED for Neighborhood Development on Campuses
Learn how LEED for Neighborhood Development can be a useful tool for
National Wildlife Federation
Campus Ecology Case Studies
Close to 100 new case studies from 2011, highlighting efforts to dramatically reduce pollution, waste and costs, including recycling, energy efficiency improvements, alternative transportation systems and green jobs training programs. In addition to the new submissions, the database includes more than 650 case studies from campuses across the U.S. spanning more than a decade; the database is searchable by topic, year and school, and includes information on each college’s project goals, successes, challenges, funding strategies and project leaders.