Students and faculty who attend sustainable schools and universities report improved student health, well-being, and performance, as well as teacher and faculty satisfaction, according to a new study from McGraw-Hill Construction. The study also reports financial benefits from green school activities.
According to the study, “New & Retrofit Green Schools—The Cost Benefits and Influence of a Green School on its Occupants,” nearly all K–12 school (91 percent) and university (89 percent) respondents reported that green schools have improved the health and well-being of their students. Additionally, 70 percent of K –12 schools and 63 percent of university leaders report green efforts as raising test scores of their students.
Leaders also report other benefits from their green schools efforts:
• 83 percent of K-12 and 85 percent of university leaders report increased faculty satisfaction as a result of teaching in a green school.
• Nearly a third (32 percent) of K -12 school leaders report reduced student absenteeism.
• 48 percent of K-12 and 56 percent of university leaders who increased access to natural light and views into their classrooms reported increased student engagement.
• 44 percent of K-12 and 51 percent of university leaders who included improved acoustics in their green projects noticed improvement in student attentiveness as a result of those improvements.
An earlier McGraw-Hill report found that 54 percent of education construction was green in 2012—up from 30 percent in 2008, and it is expected to grow, which reinforces the importance of this study and the benefits green buildings can offer, says McGraw-Hill Construction vice president Harvey Bernstein.
“These are powerful results and help to underscore why we are seeing schools shift increasingly toward exclusively building and improving their schools with green building practices and products,” he says.