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Green schools boost test scores?

896217_too_tired.jpgAn interesting article on AlterNet implies eco-friendly schools in the US can help students achieve better results.

They say it all comes down to things like increasing people’s exposure to natural daylight and fresh air. That makes sense – buildings with more natural lighting do feel better than those with flurotube lights.

But Greenbang is a bit unsure how cutting carbon would directly correlate with better exam results. Then again, it would give him a bit of extra cash to spend in the tuck shop.

This with more of that.

School construction is big business — it makes up 27 percent of the US construction market. Building a school that complies with LEED standards costs 2 percent (or $3 per square foot) more upfront, but it’s worth it — green schools use up to 30 percent less energy, 30 to 50 percent less water, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent compared to traditionally built schools.

At least one study shows that to be true. In a 1999 study, Hershong Mahone Group, a building-efficiency consulting company, evaluated 2,000 classrooms in Oakland, CA, Seattle, WA, and Fort Collins, CO. They found that students with the most daylight progressed 20 percent faster in math, and 26 percent faster in reading than students in classrooms with poor lighting.

Indoor air pollution is another challenge. As many as 15,000 schools have poor indoor air quality that triggers asthma, causes headaches, and spreads airborne illness, especially among children, who breathe more air, proportionally, than adults. Forest Hills’ has 30 percent fresh air recirculating in the classrooms, says Tom Walters, director of energy and construction management for Forest Hills, “to keep the kids healthier.”

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