Education institutions that embrace green concepts in their construction projects are able to provide safe and healthful learning environments that are responsive to the community. Carrying out these strategies can enhance student learning, reduce health and operations costs, and enhance the quality of a school. Moreover, these high-performing schools become visible statements of a community’s commitment to future generations of learners.

Doing your research

Research shows that green, high-performing schools provide the following benefits:

•Improved student performance.
•Reduced absenteeism.
•Increased comfort for teachers and students.
•Reduced liability exposure.
•Reduced operations and maintenance costs.
•Reduced reliance on fossil fuels.
•Reduced environmental impact.
•Better educational examples for students and the community.

One method for evaluating a green school design is the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. LEED for Schools, an application of LEED that recognizes the unique aspects of design and construction of K-12 schools, addresses issues such as master planning, classroom acoustics, mold prevention, indoor air quality and joint use of facilities.

During the planning and design phase of a project, a LEED-accredited architect can guide the education institution with green design strategies.