New schools are major investments in our communities that will be a legacy for decades to come. Our schools are costly to run, and are often used for many hours of the day, for both school activities and community programs. When planning for new construction and major renovations, we must consider the lifecycle cost of those buildings, their impacts on the community and environment, and how they affect and can best serve the many generations that will use these buildings.
By engaging building officials, school boards, and town committees to incorporate environmentally friendly practices into their new facilities, ECSU and the Institute for Sustainable Energy seek to reduce school energy costs and environmental impact, and create a healthier learning environment for students. Perhaps most importantly, these facilities can be built as learning laboratories where the students can "learning by doing." School districts around the country are finding that smart energy choices can help them save money over the life of their buildings, and provide healthier, more effective learning environments. By incorporating energy improvements into their construction or renovation plan, schools can significantly reduce energy consumption and cost.
- 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 5,000 new textbooks.
- It costs less than 2% more to build a green school than to build a conventional school —while the ongoing savings accrue for the life of the building. 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.
- Green buildings are designed to use energy and water in a significantly, more measurable, efficient way than conventionally designed buildings.
- Green buildings also reduce their waste streams during construction, are built to minimize their impact on the land on which they sit and the ecosystems around them, and are built with sustainably produced, recycled and recyclable materials and products.
Student, Teacher and Societal Benefits
- Green schools are built and designed with strategies and technologies that aim to improve the quality of indoor air, which could lead to improved student health, test scores and faculty retention.
- Green schools have better lighting, temperature control, improved ventilation and better indoor air quality.
- Greening all school construction is estimated to create more than 2,000 new jobs each year from increased use of energy efficiency technologies.