Green K-12 Schools and the LEED® for Schools Green Building Rating System™ (page 2)
It is a fact that 20% of America goes to school every day. School buildings represent the largest construction sector in the U.S.—$80 billion in 2006-2008. Buildings overall are also responsible for 38% of Carbon Dioxide emissions in the US, a major contributor to global warming. By promoting the design & construction of green schools, we can make a tremendous impact on student health, school operational costs, test scores and the environment.
According to "Greening America's Schools: Costs and Benefits 2006," it costs on average less than 2% or about $3 per square foot more to build a green school than to build a conventional school—and the payback occurs within one year based on energy savings alone. Green schools are environmentally sound and provide measurable benefits that impact the occupants of the building and the financial bottom line.
The green school itself also serves as a teaching tool – demonstrating to students, faculty, and parents practical ways that we can turn back the clock on global warming while creating healthier, more efficient, less costly learning environments.
- Building green offers dramatic reductions in operations and maintenance costs.
- Green schools can save $100,000 per year—enough to hire two new teachers, buy 150 new computers, or purchase 5000 new textbooks.
- It costs less than 2% more to build a green school than to build a conventional school--and that the financial benefits are 20 times as large.
- If all new school construction and school renovations went green starting today, energy savings alone would total $20 billion over the next 10 years. When you factor in water savings, the economic savings are enormous .
- LEED certified green buildings use 30-50% less energy and 40% less water, and reduce harmful Carbon Dioxide emissions by 38%.
Student and Teacher Benefits
- Improved student health, test scores, faculty retention .
- Green schools have better lighting, temperature control, improved ventilation and indoor air-quality which contribute to reduced asthma, colds, flu and absenteeism. Green schools reduce the dangerous air-pollutants that cause respiratory disease and premature mortality.
- Greening all school construction is estimated to create more than 2000 new jobs each year from increased use of energy efficiency technologies .
About LEED for Schools
LEED for Schools is a green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council for K-12 schools and higher education buildings. The rating system is designed to improve children’s health, productivity and learning capacity while also helping school building to be more energy efficient and resource friendly.
LEED is like a “nutritional label” for green, healthy schools so you know exactly where your children are spending their days. School buildings can earn LEED certification, which provides third party verification that the building was designed and is operating the way it was intended to be.
The LEED for Schools Rating System emphasizes:
- classroom acoustics
- master planning
- indoor air quality
- mold prevention
- energy efficiency
- water conservation
LEED is accompanied by a full suite of support resources, including a comprehensive LEED Reference Guide and LEED workshops focused on school construction. LEED gives school administrators, school boards, community leaders, teachers, professors, and parents the tools to have an immediate and measurable impact on the health of their children, the health of their educational system, and the health of the environment.
Reprinted with the permission of the U.S. Green Building Council. © 2009 U.S. Green Building Council.
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