What is in this article?:
- Simple Strategies
- Natural choices
Investing in green designs for school construction projects.
A lot of misunderstandings exist regarding sustainable, or green, construction. It's important that educators understand the benefits so they can communicate them to stakeholders.
Many education professionals have heard the arguments before: “It's too hard,” “I don't have the time or money,” and “How is this going to help me now, let alone later?” These statements may sound like the words of students balking at an education, but these are some of the common misconceptions about green building. The arguments are similar, as are the answers, because green building is as achievable, as aesthetically rewarding and as wise an investment as a good education. And of that wise investment, Aristotle said, “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”
According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a $4 investment (per square foot) in building green nets a $58 benefit (per square foot) over 20 years. Savings continue to add up over the lifetime of the facility. And while some stakeholders may focus only on short-term benefits, it is imperative that education professionals impart to them the long-term benefits of green building and of being good stewards of the environment, modeling good citizenship to students, and passing that legacy on to future generations.
What is green building?
Green building is good design created through smart strategies, such as daylighting, siting, skin selection, system selection and material selection. These strategies provide overall cost-savings and more healthful buildings, foster enhanced student performance, and offer branding opportunities as an environmentally proactive education facility.
In addition to these benefits, education professionals must consider that green building's future already has taken root. According to the USGBC, which rates and certifies green building based upon its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, LEED projects are being built in 41 countries and all 50 states. With the education sector expected to have 64 percent green building growth, according to USGBC, nationwide building mandates are likely in the near future, especially for publicly funded projects.
According to USGBC, a bipartisan caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives already has been created to advance green practices in schools. Today's students — perhaps the most environmentally conscious generation — will become tomorrow's corporate leaders and public policymakers, and also will add their voices to the impetus for federally mandated green building.