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Green Schools Linked To Better Student Health, Performance

Today's tip is about a white paper by the U.S. Green Building Council and McGraw Hill Research Foundation that summarizes existing research on green schools and calls for further research on the link between green building strategies and student and teacher performance within those schools.

The white paper, titled "The Impact of School Buildings on Student Health and Performance: A Call for Research" cites "clear evidence" that certain aspects of school buildings have an impact on student health and learning." That evidence includes at least four main points.

First, when deprived of natural light, studies have shown that children's melatonin cycles are disrupted, thus likely having an impact on their alertness during school.

Secondly, teachers report higher levels of comfort in their classrooms when they have access to thermal controls like thermostats or operable windows.

Third, according to researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, when ventilation rates are at or below minimum standards (roughly 15 cfm per student), an associated decrease of 5 to 10 percent occurs in certain aspects of student performance tests.

And finally, in recent studies, when ventilation rates were lowered from 17 cfm/person to 10 cfm/person, researchers saw a 15 percent increase in symptom prevalence for Sick Building Syndrome. You can read the full white paper at the USGBC's website, www.usgbc.org.


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