Green Schools

Photos below are from The Children’s School LEED award reception on May 7, 2012. The Children’s School is the first Boise school to be LEED certified. To check out information about The Children’s School project – click here.

To view additional information from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools website click here.

Characteristics of a Green School

• Conserves energy and natural resources
• Saves taxpayer money
• Improves indoor air quality
• Removes toxic materials from places where children learn and play
• Employs daylighting strategies and improves classroom acoustics
• Employs sustainable purchasing and green cleaning practices
• Improves environmental literacy in students
• Decreases the burden on municipal water and wastewater treatment
• Encourages waste management efforts to benefit the local community and region
• Conserves fresh drinking water and helps manage storm water runoff
• Encourages recycling
• Promotes habitat protection
• Reduces demand on local landfills

Myths and Facts

• MYTH: Green schools are expensive to build.
• FACT: Green schools do not have to cost a penny more than conventional schools.

A 2007 report, The Cost of Green Revisited (Davis Langdon), examined 100 buildings that achieved LEED certification. When compared to a random sample of traditionally designed buildings and controlling for time, location and cost, the study found no significant difference in average costs for green buildings as compared to non-green buildings.

By utilizing the integrated design process, a process that brings all stakeholders together to identify and resolve problems early in the process, green schools can be built for no additional premium.
Costs to operate energy- and water-efficient schools are far less than corresponding costs for conventional schools.

To create green schools, a community does not have to build new schools. There are many cost-effective measures available to turn the approximately 99,000 existing U.S. public schools into green schools.

• MYTH: LEED is expensive, so why certify?
• FACT: LEED-certified buildings do not need to cost more than regular buildings, and you can’t manage what you can’t measure.

Third-party certification validates and gives owners confidence that the building was built as designed, with performance in mind, and can be expected to perform as intended.

Registration and certification fees are minimal; the documentation costs should be a cost of doing business. The cost to register and certify a 100,000-square-foot school for USGBC member organizations is less than $4,000 using LEED for
Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, and less than $5,500 using LEED for Schools.

Costs and availability of green products and services are now competitive with conventional products.

• MYTH: Green schools do not save money.
• FACT: Green schools are designed to save money.

On average, green schools use 33% less energy and 32% less water than conventionally constructed schools, significantly reducing utility costs.

The typical green school saves $100,000 per year on operating costs, enough to hire at least one new teacher, buy 200 new computers, or purchase 5,000 textbooks.

By using LEED as a framework to green schools, stakeholders can ensure that schools are designed, maintained and monitored to deliver their highest performance.

• MYTH: Green schools do not improve student health.
• FACT: Green schools improve health through safer materials and products and by circulating cleaner air.

Green schools emphasize high indoor air quality by improving air circulation, removing toxic materials and products, and reducing CO2 emissions.

Nurses at green schools report fewer clinic visits, students note less eye-nose-throat irritation, and there are fewer asthma-related incidents all of which contribute to improved student health and decreased absenteeism.

• MYTH: Green schools do not improve student performance.
• FACT: Green schools create inviting classrooms that lessen distractions and encourage student participation.

Green schools have clean air, high-quality acoustics, temperature control systems, and use daylighting strategies to create welcoming learning environments that lessen distractions and encourage student participation.

• MYTH: LEED-certified buildings don’t perform as expected.
• FACT: LEED-certified buildings save energy, save water and save money.

Proper operation and maintenance of a green building is how you ensure performance.There are hundreds of case studies on the U.S. Green Building Council website that you can access to see how LEED-certified buildings at all levels have performed.

For more about Green Schools – click here.