Both K-12 and universities plan to continue investments in green schools, citing financial and social benefits, according to a new study by McGraw-Hill Construction.
The “New & Retrofit Green Schools” study shows social benefits, such as improved health and productivity, are critical drivers for the education sector and equally as important as financial drivers.
Over 75 percent of respondents consider improving indoor air quality and enhancing health and well-being as key drivers, which is nearly the same percentage that cite financial benefits, such as lower operating costs and reduced energy use.
In the K-12 sector, social factors are particularly prominent, with over 75 percent of respondents also citing increased student performance as an important element of their decision to build green. But cost savings are critically important to the education sector, as well. Over 75 percent of respondents in both K-12 and higher education report that reducing energy use, operational savings, and improving 10-year operating costs are important reasons that have led them to build green.
Financially, 58 percent of administrators, facility managers and school design, and construction and real estate staffs at K-12 schools report decreased energy use in their green buildings, and 55 percent cite lower annual costs. For higher education, the financial benefits equate to 55 percent of respondents reporting decreased energy use and 46 percent reporting lower annual costs.
The need for better measures, more consistently applied, to gauge the impact of green building in the future was also unveiled in the study. Over 40 percent of both the K-12 and higher education respondents do not know the longer-term impact of their build improvements.
The study was produced with the support of the US Green Building Council Center for Green Schools, Lutron, Project Frog and Siemens. Survey and data partners included the Council of Educational Facility Planners International, The American Institute of Architects, Associated General Contractors of America, Green Schools National Network, National Association of Independent Schools, Society for Colleges and University Planning, and Second Nature.