NCEF Resource List: Impact of Green Schools on Learning
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Information on the association between student achievement and the physical environment of green school buildings, and using the green school as a learning tool,compiled by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities.

References to Books and Other Media

The Economics of Biophilia: Why Designing with Nature in Mind Makes Financial Sense Adobe PDF
(Terrapin Bright Green, May 2012)
Recent research in neuroscience and endocrinology clearly demonstrates that experiencing nature has significant benefits, both psychological and physiological. Bringing nature and references to nature into the built environment is the purpose of biophilic design. This white paper compiles an economic argument for biophilic design in the built environment. Includes a chapter on school environments, discussing daylighting and outdoor learning opportunities as a means to improve test scores and positively impact the stress levels of society’s youngest members. 39p

The Impact of School Buildings on Student Health and Performance: A Call for Research Adobe PDF
Baker, Lindsay; Bernstein, Harvey
(The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation and the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, Feb 27, 2012)
Explores research from two perspectives: from the lens of the child’s experience with their built environment, and from how different stakeholders can play an important role in bringing that research to light. Sheds light on the critical need for research around how the school building—through its design, maintenance and operations—impacts the health and performance of the students in those buildings. 35p

Portraiture of a Green Schoolyard: A Natural History of Children's Experiences
Keena, Kelly Elizabeth
(Dissertation, University of Colorado at Denver, 2012)
Children in the United States are losing access to nature, yet previous research suggests that time in nature provides benefits for children's healthy development. Youth withdrawal from the natural world comes at a time in history when understanding environmental issues demands a knowledge of the natural environment and human's relationship to it. Schools have an opportunity to provide access to nature, but traditionally do not. This portraiture study investigated children's experiences in a schoolyard habitat at a public, traditional school with the purpose of illuminating how the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students felt, knew about, and acted in the natural setting. The findings indicated five major benefits of a schoolyard habitat used as a classroom throughout the school day: (1) critical thinking and curiosity; (2) ownership and identity; (3) peace and calm; (4) respite and respect; and (5) adventure and imagination. Present in all of those distinct yet interrelated themes was intellect, movement, joy, trust and confidence, safety, comfort and familiarity, respect, and relationships between students and between students and teachers. The study concluded that children's physical, intellectual, and emotional selves were all actively benefiting from the time in the habitat, that a balance of free and promoted action naturally occurred for students and teachers, and that the habitat was a place of kindness and respect. The study has implications for research and practitioners in children's sense of place, schooling, environmental literacy, and portraiture as a methodology to research children's experiences of place. [Author's abstract] 312p

How to Go Green: Creating a Conservation Culture in a Public High School through Education, Modeling, and Communication Adobe PDF
Schelly, Chelsea; Cross, Jennifer E.; Franzen, William; Hall, Pete; Reeve, Stu
(Journal of Environmental Education, v43 n3 , Jan 2012)
This case study examines how energy conservation efforts in one public high school contributed to both sustainability education and the adoption of sustainable behavior within educational and organizational practice. Individual role models, school facilities, school governance and school culture together support both conservation and environmental education, specifically through the application of principles from behavior theory, including modeling commitments, values, expectations, and behaviors. In addition, role models with the traits of charismatic leaders can be especially instrumental. In this school, communication is the thread connecting the multiple aspects of modeling, helping to create the synergistic relationship between conservation efforts and environmental education. This study demonstrates that conservation efforts, when modeled successfully in a public school setting, can simultaneously and synergistically meet the goals of conservation and sustainability education.[Authors' abstract] 41p

The Journey of Sustainable Schools: Developing and Embedding Sustainability. Adobe PDF
(National College for School Leadership, UK , Oct 2011)
This report is for school leaders who are leading and developing sustainable schools. It summarizes the findings from Forum for the Future and the Institute of Education's 2009-10 research for the National College into how school leaders are developing and embedding sustainability within their schools and communities. It includes examples of the skills, tools and activities school leaders are using to do this. Includes characteristics of a sustainable school. The study highlighted that there are two distinct phases of innovation as schools make the transition from one stage to another. These phases are practice development and strategic integration.

The Role of Physical Environment on Student Health and Education in Green Schools
Selen Okcu, Erica Ryherd, Charlene Bayer
(Reviews on Environmental Health. v26, n3., Sep 13, 2011)
The role of physical school environment on student health and education is becoming better understood. A growing body of literature indicates that improved physical environments in schools (e.g., indoor air quality, lighting, and acoustic conditions) can enhance student health outcomes. In parallel, the green building movement centers around designing buildings, including schools, that are more sustainable to decrease energy consumption, minimize environmental impact, and create healthier spaces for occupants. This paper synthesizes the findings from both green design studies and school outcomes studies to provide a systematic evaluation of the potential impacts of green school design features on student health outcomes. Three inter-related topics are covered in detail: (i) overview of the “green” concept, including existing guidelines for “greening” schools, attitudes toward green schools, and condition of the physical environments in non-green schools; (ii) potential effects of the physical environment on school children, including documentation of national statistics and summary of findings from school research studies; (iii) synthesis of findings, including a discussion of the knowledge gaps in the field of green school research and conclusions.[Authors' abstract] p169-179

Green Schools That Teach: Identifying Attributes of Whole-School Sustainability. Adobe PDF
Barr, Stephanie Kay
(Masters Thesis, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, Summer 2011)
The combination of green school design, green organizational behavior, and aligned educational goals sets the stage for the attributes of green schools to become teaching tools. School facilities, whether functioning well or not, serve as powerful pedagogical instruments. This research study focused on five LEED certified green schools promoting sustainability through building design, operations, and curriculum. Participating schools were LEED certified and offered a formal environmental education program. The purpose of the study was to explore the combination of attributes leading to success in developing a methodology for best practices resulting in a model for whole-school sustainability. Shared sustainable values among stakeholders formed a supportive culture informing decisions about facility design and curriculum and guided the whole-school sustainability process. The physical context of participating schools reinforced successful whole-school sustainability through hands-on learning opportunities for students and physical representation of the entity‘s values. Finally, the alignment of sustainability values within culture, curriculum, and facility operations was found to be critical to the success of whole-school sustainability.[Author's abstract] 139p.

Absenteeism, Performance and Occupant Satisfaction with the Indoor Environment of Green Toronto Schools.
Issa, Mohamed; Attalla, Mohamed; Rankin, Jeff; Christian, A. John
(Indoor and Built Environment , Jun 2011)
This study aimed to compare a number of quantitative and qualitative aspects of usage across a sample of 10 conventional, 20 energy-retrofitted and three green Toronto schools. Student, teacher and staff absenteeism data, as well as Grade 3 and 6 student performance data on reading, writing and arithmetic tests administered by Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office were collected. A survey of 150 teachers was conducted to investigate their satisfaction with the indoor air quality, lighting, thermal comfort and acoustics of their school buildings. The statistical analysis of the data showed that teachers in green schools were in general more satisfied with their classrooms and personal workspaces’ lighting, thermal comfort, indoor air quality, heating, ventilation and air conditioning than teachers in the other schools. Nevertheless, they were less satisfied with acoustics. Student, teacher and staff absenteeism in green schools also improved by 2–7.5%, whereas student performance improved by 8–19% when compared with conventional schools. However, these improvements were not statistically significant and could not therefore be generalised to all Toronto public schools. Whether these marginal improvements justify the extra cost premium of green buildings remains an active contentious topic that will need further investigation. [Authors' abstract]

A Preliminary Study of the Effects that Four L.E.E.D. Gold Certified Elementary Schools Have on Student Learning, Attendance and Health
LaBuhn, Richard W
(Dissertation, Texas State University, Jun 2011)
As student enrollment increases in the United States, so too does the demand for educational facilities. School districts that have faced successive years of budget shortfalls have neglected renovations to existing facilities in order to pay for more immediate operating costs. As a result, a growing number of schools have environmental hazards such as poor indoor air quality and inadequate ventilation. Education facilities are also voracious consumers of energy. A green building movement has emerged in the past decade that has sought to minimize the impact that school construction has on the environment, while also providing learning environments conducive to student and faculty health. Proponents of green building claim that green schools improve student test scores, promote better attendance, and provide healthier learning environments. This study focused on four elementary schools that meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (L.E.E.D.) standard and sought to determine whether students in these schools had better standardized test scores, better attendance rates, and fewer health problems than students in conventionally constructed schools. [Author's abstract] 137p

Life-cycle Cost-benefit Analysis of Green Roofing Systems: the Economic and Environmental Impact of Installing Green Roofs on All Atlanta Public Schools
Whatley, Melvin B.
(Georgia Institute of Technology, Apr 05, 2011)
This study examines the relationship between environmental sustainability and green schools, seeking to highlight the benefits and determine the Net Present Value (NPV) installing vegetative roofs on all schools in the Atlanta Public Schools District. This study quantifies the costs and benefits of thin-layer, or extensive, green roof systems as they compare to typical flat roofs on Atlanta Public Schools. Quantifiable benefits are detailed and suggestions are made to create the means by which other social benefits may be quantified. The purpose of this thesis is to establish proof to the Atlanta Public Schools District that over a 40 year period there are more benefits associated with installing vegetative roofs on all of their flat roofs than there are costs. While some may argue that greens roof are more costly than traditional roof systems, this study provides evidence that the cumulative benefits over a 40 year life cycle associated with large scale green roof installations, such as on all Atlanta Public Schools, are greater than the initial costs incurred. Factors included in the analysis of benefits were reductions to energy/utility costs, reduced emissions, and avoided best management practices (BMPs). Other considerations include social benefits resulting from the mitigation of storm water runoff, reductions to the urban heat island, productivity level increases (students and teachers), and avoided regulatory fees. [Author's abstract]

Investigating the Behaviors of the Elementary School Students in Reference to Factors Associated with Daylight.
Majid, Seied et al
(Asian Social Science, Mar 2011)
There is no simple guide to human behavior which architects can use but recommendations rather an understanding of the principles of behavior and of man's interactions with buildings. To investigate the Behaviors of the Elementary School Students, the attitudes and behaviors towards the visual environment of three hundred and fifty primary school students were studied in eleven schools of varying design, with particular reference to factors associated with daylight and fenestration. The survey included social issues, personality characteristics of the primary school students and the varying visual characteristics of the buildings including photometric studies. Considerable proportions of students choose to work or sit near windows, the chief factor being the amount of daylight. View content, view out and nature are important. The most popular children occupy favored window places. Space and comfort both thermal and visual are important. Gender separation is natural. [Authors' abstract] 12p.

Greening Dimension of Learning in Secondary Schools. Adobe PDF
Banciu, D. and Alexandru, A
(Journal of Green Engineering, 2011)
This paper outlines the energy challenge and presents the role of education as a vector in changing behaviors related to energy consumption by adopting a sustainable attitude aimed at environmental protection. The emphasis is put on teaching activities that will enhance the capabilities of youngsters and teachers from secondary schools concerning the efficient use of energy and the promotion of Renewable Energy Sources. The authors present their results of designing, experimenting, assessing and transferring an innovative approach to energy education in secondary schools that is expected to enhance the content of curricula and to renew the pedagogical methodology. The role played by schools in a green world is strengthened by on-line training delivered to youngsters via e-books and portals specially designed for this purpose or by learning by doing via interactive games. [Authors' abstract] 17p.

Plants in the Classroom Can Improve Student Performance.
Daly, John; Burchett, Margaret; Torpy, Fraser
(University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, Oct 29, 2010)
The aims of this project was to investigate the effects of indoor plants on classroom performance in years 6 and 7 students. The trials were conducted in three independent schools in the Brisbane region, with a total of over 360 students in 13 classes. Half of the classes received 3 plants per classroom, and students were tested with standard tests before plant placements and re-tested after 6 weeks of plant presence or absence. In two of the schools, significant improvements were found with plants present, as compared to classes without plants. The consistency of results among schools, classes, and the large student numbers leads the authors to recommend that indoor plants should be a standard installation in school classrooms. 9p.

Green Schools as High Performance Learning Facilities. Adobe PDF
Gordon, Douglas
(National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, DC , Sep 2010)
Defines a “green” school and its benefits to operational savings, health, pedagogy, and the environment. Planning, design, and operations considerations are detailed, while addressing site selection, water efficiency, energy savings, materials, and indoor environmental quality. The major rating systems LEED, CHPS, and Green Globes are also discussed. Joint use of a school and the use of a green school as a teaching tool are addressed, and 72 references are included. 23p.

How Does Indoor Air Quality Impact Student Health and Academic Performance? The Case for Comprehensive IAQ Management in Schools. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC , Apr 2010)
This fact sheet explains how good IAQ in schools is a critical component of a healthy and comfortable learning environment. Briefly cites evidence to support school indoor air quality management. Basic advice on establishing a school indoor air quality management program is offered, as are 18 references. 2p.

Manassas Park Elementary School.
(The Chesapeake Bay Program, Annapolis, 2010)
This video tour of the new Manassas Park Elementary School details the facility's abundant sustainable features. The lead architect on the project details the rainwater harvesting system, outdoor classroom, geothermal wells, daylighting, low-maintenance flooring, and environmental themes found throughout the building.

Sustainable School Architecture: Design for Primary and Secondary Schools.
Gelfan, Lisa; Freed, Eric
(John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ , 2010)
Offers guidance on the planning, architecture, and design of schools that are healthy, stimulating, and will conserve energy and resources. The book emphasizes how eco-friendly practices for school construction can create an environment that students will emulate and carry into the world. Also included are a focus on the links between best sustainable practices and the specific needs of educational institutions, 19 international case studies of contemporary sustainable schools, information on the California Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, resources for incremental modernization and operation strategies as well as comprehensive transformation, tips on running an integrated, and contributions by experts on approaches to the sites, systems, maintenance, and operation of sustainable schools. 335p.

Post-Occupancy Evaluation Report: Washington Middle School. Adobe PDF
(Rushing Blackbird, Seattle, WA , Aug 2009)
Presents energy and water use data, indoor environmental quality results, and occupant feedback for this school, which was built in 2004 as part of the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol pilot projects. The report provides a comparison between projected performance and actual performance after two full school years of occupancy. It includes explanations of sustainable design strategies employed at WMS; quantitative and qualitative evaluation of as-built results, including operations and maintenance feedback; costs/savings reporting, comparing projected values to actual costs/savings; and occupant feedback, including students, staff, school district, and maintenance staff. 247p.

The Impact of 'Green' Initiatives on Student Learning: Non-Financial Reasons for Going 'Green.'
Christopher, Gaylaird
(Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, Harrisburg , May 2009)
Briefly describes the benefits of "green" schools to the educational program and to occupant health. 3p.

Relationship Between Green School Design and Student Achievement, Attendance, and Student Behaviors
Bruick, Deborah L
(Dissertation, Graduate School University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Spring 2009)
Literature is replete with the harmful effects of poorly maintained facilities on building occupants. District officials are charged with constructing schools of quality while also serving as conscientious stewards of public monies; therefore, school leaders need facility research to support decision-making. The purpose of the study was to examine the impact that schools constructed following Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards have on student achievement, student attendance, and teacher’s perceptions compared to non-LEED schools. Analysis revealed no significant effect for student achievement or attendance. A significant effect was indicated in air quality and to a lesser degree, acoustics. [Author's abstract] 140p

Green, High Performance Schools. Adobe PDF
(Air Quality Sciences, Inc., Marietta, GA , 2009)
Provides an overview of the positive impacts these schools have on student learning, comprehension and test scores, improved student health, greater productivity, and improved cost-efficiency. The paper begins by defining green schools, discussing obstacles and myths surrounding green schools, and then detailing green school elements of indoor air quality. These include particulates, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), asthma, autism, energy conservation, green cleaning, and mold prevention. Various federal and non-profit sector green school resources are also described. 25p.

Building Minds, Minding Buildings: Our Union's Road Map to Green and Sustainable Schools. Adobe PDF
(American Federation of Teachers, Washington, DC , Dec 2008)
Highlights the work of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) members and affiliates involved in ensuring that schools are designed and built in healthy and sustainable ways. The report explains why the union supports green schools, what makes a school green, and the benefits of a green school to health, productivity, and saving money. Five green school case studies are included, as is a list of additional resources and thirteen references. 50p.

High-Performance School Buildings: Resource and Strategy Guide. Third Edition.
Evans, Deane
(Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, Washington, DC , 2008)
Provides information on how to create schools that provide better learning environments for students and teachers, cost less to operate, and help protect the environment. The guide is organized into three core sections. The first provides an overview and two interrelated discussions on what is a high performance school building and why are such schools valuable. The second provides a step-by-step process guide consisting of questions that decision-makers can ask their design team as a means of attaining the highest achievable levels of building performance. The third section offers 17, 2-page "briefs" that describe each of the key components of a high performance building. Each brief describes what the component is, why it is important for ensuring high performance, how it can be incorporated into the school's design, and how it influences other building components and systems. Sections four and five offer three case studies of high performance schools and a list of additional resources, respectively. 91p.
TO ORDER: Sustainable Buildings Industry Council

Green Buildings Research White Paper.
(Building Design & Construction, Reed Business Information, Oak Brook, IL , Oct 2007)
Covers "green" building awareness and practice across a variety of building types, with two specific chapters for higher education and K-12 education, respectively. These chapters interpret survey data reflecting awareness, implementation, willingness to pay for, and benefits of environmentally conscious buildings. In all categories, positive percentages from higher education were somewhat ahead of K-12. 60p.

Education Green Building SmartMarket Report.
(McGraw-Hill Construction, New York, NY , 2007)
Details construction market research into green building in the education construction sector. The research that the education sector is the fastest-growing market for green building. The study also found that: 1) The concern for "improved health and well-being" was the most critical social reason for driving education green building. 2) Fiscal advantages of green building, such as energy cost savings, are the major motivation behind the construction of green schools and universities. 3) Higher first costs are the primary challenge to building green in this sector. 4) Operational cost decreases resulting from green building are the most important trigger to faster adoption of green school building. 5) There is a strong need for access to and information on green building products, particularly those relating to improving health, such as reducing mold and indoor air pollutants. 6) The industry is calling for independent, third-party standards for green building products. Case studies of the "greening" of two K-12 schools and one university are included. 36p.
TO ORDER: McGraw-Hill Construction Research & Analytics, 24 Hartwell Ave., Lexington, MA 02421; Tel: 800-591-4462

Green Schools: Attributes for Health and Learning.
(National Academies Press, Washington, DC , 2007)
Examines the potential of environmentally-conscious school design for improving education. This book provides an assessment of the potential human health and performance benefits of improvements in the building envelope, indoor air quality, lighting, and acoustical quality. The report also presents an assessment of the overall building condition and student achievement, and offers an analysis of and recommendations for planning and maintaining green schools including research considerations. Includes 390 references. 180p.

High Performance Schools: How Do They Really Perform?
Schopf, Anne; Reifert, Gerald; Miller, Forrest
(The American Institute of Architects, Washington, DC , 2007)
Explores measured performance rates for absenteeism, learning outcomes, staff satisfaction and comfort, energy usage, and building operations at the 2006 AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects Award-winning Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, and other green education facilities. The presentation explains how daylighting, access to views, indoor air quality, and ventilation affect student and teacher performance; compares projected and actual performance; and demonstrates the tools available to evaluate performance. 65p.

Greening America's Schools: Costs and Benefits.
Kats, Gregory
(Capital E, Washington, DC , Oct 2006)
Based on a study of 30 "green" schools, this reports reveals that building "green" would save an average school $100,000 each year - enough to hire two new additional full-time teachers. The report demonstrates that green schools (schools designed to be energy efficient, healthy and environmentally friendly) are also extremely cost-effective. Total financial benefits from green schools outweigh the costs 20 to 1. With over $35 billion dollars projected to be spent in 2007 on K-12 construction, the conclusions of this report have far-reaching implications for future school design. The report's methodology is detailed, numerous tables illustrate the data, and 89 references are included. 23p.

2005 Survey of Green Building Plus Green Building in K-12 and Higher Education.
(Turner Green Buildings, Sacramento, CA , 2005)
Presents the results of a survey of 665 senior executives concerning "green" building issues in both K-12 and higher educational facilities. Extremely large percentages of respondents from both fields valued "green buildings" highly for sustaining community image, attracting and retaining teachers, reduced student absenteeism, and student performance. Higher education executives also valued them for attracting students and research funding. Statistics representing the long-term cost benefits, obstacles to the construction of "green" facilities, and the adoption of green policies by educational institutions are displayed in numerous charts and graphs. 25p.

Do Green Schools Improve a Student's Academic Performance? Adobe PDF
(Global Green USA: Green Schools Initiative, Santa Monica, CA, 2005)
Concise information sheet summarizing the findings of several studies correlating the quality of school buildings with better student performance. 2p.

Green Schools "Create" Learning Tools.
Hill, Franklin
(, Orange, CA , 2005)
Illustrates design for passive seasonal heating, cooling, and daylighting that students can monitor as part of the learning program. 3p.

High Tech Designs Offer Integrated Educational Opportunities for Students.
Hill, Franklin
(, Orange, CA , 2005)
Recommends configuring school HVAC, solar hot water, photovoltaics, and daylighting systems so that they can be integrated into the curriculum. 2p.

Green Building White Paper Research: Schools. Adobe PDF
(Reed Research Group, Building Design & Construction, Oak Brook, IL , Oct 2004)
Reports on an online survey of K-12 education professionals to assess opinions, perceptions, and actions regarding sustainable school buildings. The objectives of the study were to establish familiarity with and attitudes toward green building practices and terminology, along with assessing perceptions of cost differentials, plans to build sustainably, and awareness of sustainable design as a teaching tool. The survey found that respondents were largely familiar with green building terms and principles, but had somewhat less experience with actual construction of sustainable school buildings. Nearly two-thirds of respondents believed that high performance schools are more costly to build, but that a cost differential of 7 percent was acceptable to gain approval of a sustainable building in their school district. Over two-thirds of respondents have actually incorporated sustainable concepts in their recent school building designs. Three out of four respondents believe high performance schools can serve as a teaching tool for students. 41p.

High-Performance Schools: Affordable Green Design for K-12 Schools. Adobe PDF
Plympton, Patricia; Brown, John; Stevens, Kara
(U.S. Dept. of Energy, National Renewal Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO , Aug 2004)
Describes high performance schools from each of the nine climate zones associated with the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Energy Design Guidelines for High Performance Schools. The nine case studies focus on the high performance design strategies implemented in each school, as well as the cost savings and benefits realized by students, faculty, the community, and the environment. 13p.

Sustainable Design and Student Performance.
(Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center, Seattle, WA, 2004)
Discusses research that demonstrates that the quality of a building, the materials used, indoor air quality, interest-grabbing design features, use of daylighting, acoustic designs and more, impact the performance of those who use a school building.

The Healthy and High-Performance School: A Two-Part Report Regarding the Scientific Findings and Policy Implications of School Environmental Health. Adobe PDF
Shendell, Derek; Barnett, Claire; Boese, Stephen
(Healthy Schools Network, Inc., Albany, NY , 2004)
Part one presents results of a literature review related to school indoor environmental quality and, in the context of limited resources facing American schools, practical science-based recommendations to improve and promote good school indoor environmental quality and prevent or reduce potential occupant exposure to toxic biological, chemical, and physical agents. Part two offers recommendations for improving school environmental health and safety based on today's known science. It draws together the knowledge, data, and research regarding school facilities, children's environmental health, and school facility impact on student achievement, to demonstrate that school facility issues are integral to school reform and equity debates. (Includes 302 references, a list some state and federal government sponsored Internet sites on school IEQ and energy, and a list of existing noise guidelines for school environments at local, state and international levels.) 87p.

Impact of Sustainable Buildings on Educational Achievements in K-12 Schools. Adobe PDF
Olson, Stephen; Kellum, Shana
(Leonardo Academy, Inc., Cleaner and Greener Program, Madison, WI , Nov 25, 2003)
Defines sustainable schools and its accompanying qualities of good site planning, lighting, indoor air quality, healthy building materials, acoustics, and use of renewable energy. Benefits to student achievement through daylighting and indoor air quality are detailed, and 34 references are included. 14p.

Green Schools Initiative: A Summary of Studies related to Student Health and Productivity. Adobe PDF
(Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Westborough , Aug 2003)
Summarizes seven studies on the effect of "green" school initiatives on student health and productivity. For each study, the following characteristics are identified: study type, the research question/hypothesis, the subjects, the physical/classroom variables (independent variables), the methodology and metrics used, The major findings of the study, and weaknesses and criticisms of the particular study. Copies of correspondence and a list of links active as of August 15, 2003 are included. 44p.

How Parents and Teachers Are Helping To Create Better Environments for Learning. Energy-Smart Building Choices. Adobe PDF
(Department of Energy, Washington, DC. , Feb 2002)
This brochure shows parents and teachers how smart energy choices reduce school operating costs and create better learning environments. The brochure reveals how schools have turned energy improvements into powerful teaching tools by incorporating energy features into the curriculum. It provides guidelines on ten key elements to consider for designing a high performance school: site design, daylighting and windows, energy-efficient building envelope, renewable energy systems, lighting and electrical systems, mechanical and ventilation systems, environmentally sensitive building products and systems, water conservation, recycling and waste management, and transportation. 7p.
Report NO: DOE-GO-102002-1521

Schools of the Future and Sustainable Design. Adobe PDF
Fox, Anne Webster
(Masters Thesis, Antioch University, Seattle, WA. , Jan 2000)
This thesis examines what practices schools and school districts need to adopt if they want to apply sustainable design principles to their new schools and the benefits these design practices offer school communities. The paper argues that school districts will benefit from these design principles, and that these benefits will occur because sustainable design and construction decisions lead to the creation of learning environments that are environmentally healthy for occupants, operationally efficient, and site sensitive to the natural and community environment. Also argued is that school districts are best served by being proactive in their embrace of sustainable design principles, and that the adoption of these concepts and processes will be most successful if they involve a collaborative and interdisciplinary project management model that uses project teams and the community throughout the design and construction process. Appendices contain a report on the impact of inadequate school facilities on student learning and the study's interview questions. (Contains 64 references.) 104p.

Daylighting in Schools. An Investigation into the Relationship between Daylighting and Human Performance. Adobe PDF
Heschong, Lisa
(Submitted by the Heschong Mahone Group to Pacific Gas and Electric, on behalf of the California Board for Energy Efficiency Third Party Program , 1999)
This study examines the effects of daylighting on human performance, focusing on skylighting as a way to isolate daylight as an illumination source and to separate illumination effects from other qualities associated with daylighting from windows. The study establishes a statistical connection between daylighting and student performance and between skylighting and retail sales. Using multivariate linear regression analysis, the study examined 21,000 school records from three school districts in three states and daylighting conditions in more than 2,000 classrooms. Data indicate students with the most classroom daylighting progressed 20 percent faster on math tests and 26 percent faster on reading tests in one year than those with the least amount of daylight. Similarly, students with the largest windows progressed 15 percent faster in math and 23 percent faster in reading than those with the least largest windows. In classrooms where windows could be opened, there was a 7 to 18 percent faster educational progress than those with fixed windows, regardless of air conditioning. These findings are reported to be consistent regardless of curricula or teaching styles. 140p.
Report NO: HMG-R-9803

Student Performance in Daylit Schools. Adobe PDF
Nicklas, Michael H.; Bailey, Gary B.
(Innovative Design, Raleigh, North Carolina , 1996)
This study investigates the relationships between elementary and middle school student performance and natural daylighting. The performance of students attending three daylit schools designed by Innovative Design for Johnston County Schools in North Carolina was analyzed and compared to the County school system as a whole and other new schools within Johnston County. The daylit schools in the study indicated energy cost reductions of between 22 percent to 64 percent over typical schools. 5p.

References to Journal Articles

Green Schools: Information Resources For Facility Managers
Kessler, Helen
Building Operating Management; Apr 2012
Describes new research showing that greener school buildings can have an impact.

Green School Grounds: A Collaborative Development and Research Project in Malmö, Sweden
Märit Jansson and Fredrika Mårtensson
Children, Youth and Environments; v22 n1 , p260-269 ; Spring 2012
School ground greening projects may result in a multitude of benefits for pupils, schools and entire communities. This field report describes a project called “Green school grounds” in Malmö, Sweden and an interdisciplinary research project investigating vegetation establishment and management as well as the effects of the project for children. The project consulted researchers and involved teachers and children at the schools during the process of planning and construction. This field report presents the first results from a pretest evaluation of school ground activity at two schools, part of a larger intervention study. [Authors' abstract]

German Forest Kindergartens: Healthy Childcare under the Leafy Canopy
Silvia D. Schäffer and Thomas Kistemann
Children, Youth and Environments; v22 n1 , p270-279 ; Spring 2012
A forest kindergarten is a special form of daycare, with walks, free play and environmental education in the forest on the daily schedule. Attending a forest kindergarten can contribute to children’s healthy development and is associated with physical activity, concentration, mental health, linguistic development and the prevention of infections. Drawing from systematic observations of 12 German forest kindergartens, this report presents an insight into their daily routines, their surrounding landscape and other essential characteristics. [Authors' abstract]

Design of Learning Spaces: Emotional and Cognitive Effects of Learning Environments in Relation to Child Development
Arndt, Petra A.
Mind, Brain, and Education; v6 n1 , p41-48 ; Feb 2012
The design of learning spaces is rightly gaining more and more pedagogical attention, as they influence the learning climate and learning results in multiple ways. General structural characteristics influence the willingness to learn through emotional well-being and a sense of security. Specific structural characteristics influence cognitive processes, from visual and acoustic perceptions, via attention to the model, to processes of comprehension and reflection. Aspects of the design of the learning space also modify the interaction among students and between students and their teacher. Furthermore, the different requirements that have emerged through the development toward a learning society and the explosive increase of available information in our society require changes in the design of learning processes and thus of learning environments. Taking biological needs and neurobiological processes into account when designing learning spaces can provide a beneficial learning environment with regard to mental resources. This article will highlight relevant (neuro)biological fundamentals and try to describe resulting conclusions for the design of learning spaces.

Environmental Studies. The Kids May Be Out of the Classroom for the Summer, but School Design is Definitely in Session.
Lee, Lydia
The Architects Newspaper; Jul 09, 2011
Studies how public and private schools are investing in ultra high-performance buildings that provide better learning environments and teach by example. Includes numerous examples and photographs.

The Future of Evidence-Based Design.
Whitemyer, David
College Planning and Management; v14 n5 , p48-50 ; May 2011
Discusses how the pairing of data on building performance and on occupant behavior has gained traction in the school building industry.

Linking Curriculum and Learning to Facilities: Arizona State University's GK-12 Sustainable Schools Program. Adobe PDF
Elser, Monica; Pollari, Lynette; Frisk, Erin; Wood, Mark
Educational Facility Planner; v45 n3 , p7-10 ; 2011
Reviews this university's sustainability curriculum that brings together graduate students, sustainability experts, and high school teachers and students. The involvement with the community, guiding principles, and core elements of the curriculum are described.

Grading Green Results.
Morton, Jennie
Buildings; v104 n9 , p60-62,64 ; Sep 2010
Discusses three universities' experience with sustainable design. Despite minor issues, all three institutions are saving energy and are pleased as well with the ability to use the building as a teaching tool.

Green Roofs and Schools.
Peck, Steven; Van der Linde, Damon
Green Building Pro; Aug 23, 2010
Lists opportunities for instruction that a green roof provides, especially in dense urban neighborhoods. In addition to environmental benefits, a green roof supports plant species, insects, birds, and examples of urban agriculture.

The Green Hire.
Gutter, Rachel
American School Board Journal; v197 n4 , p49-51 ; Apr 2010
Discusses how to use the school facility to teach sustainability. Special emphasis is placed on how to adapt and change behaviors within existing schools, versus those that were built "green" from the outset. Several examples of environmental programs at work within older schools are highlighted.

Greener Schools, Greater Learning, and the LEED Value. Adobe PDF
Johnson, Priscilla D.; Kritsonis, William Allan
National Journal for Publishing and Mentoring Doctoral Student Research ; v7 n1 , 8p. ; 2010
Discusses the various approaches used in green school designs and touches on research that shows the learning and health benefits of these techniques. Explores historical accounts of the learning environment and explains LEED certification.

Reading, Writing, and Retrofits. [School Retrofits Go Green.]
Daly, James
Edutopia; v5 n6 , p44-46 ; Dec 2009
Profiles existing schools that are seeking to be more environmentally friendly through retrofitting. Illinois' Bloom High School is featured. The prudence of incremental improvements to existing buildings, funding options, and the education benefits of student participation in the upgrade process are cited.

Growing Green Schools.
Loftness, Vivian
Edutopia; v5 n6 , p30-32 ; Dec 2009
Reviews the benefits of "green" schools in terms of indoor air quality, thermal comfort, acoustics, cleanability, and energy savings. The nominal costs of building green and the significant increase in student achievement and life cycle costs are also described.

Campuses as Living Laboratories for the Greener Future.
St. Arnaud, Bill; Smarr, Larry; Sheehan, Jerry; DeFanti, Tom
EDUCAUSE Review; v44 n6 , p14-16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26-28, 30, ; Nov-Dec 2009
This article features the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the University of California, Irvine (UCI) as examples of the growing efforts of college and university campuses to create more sustainable buildings and to reduce carbon emissions. The authors stress that those who are in higher education have the opportunity to recommit themselves to enabling societal transformation by using each campus "cities" as proofs of concept for the green infrastructure revolution.

Greener Schools Mean Better Health.
Spector, Marc
School Planning and Management; v48 n10 , p20,22,24,26 ; Oct 2009
Discusses how "green" schools, in addition to saving energy and generating less pollution, improve occupant health. Reduced absenteeism and improved student performance in green schools are addressed.

A Design That Teaches Others.
Theimer, James
DesignShare; May 17, 2009
Advocates creating school buildings that teach environmental stewardship, emphasizing retention of trees, recycling, and school gardens.

Overlapping Issues.
Cherry, Cathy
School Planning and Management; v48 n4 , p52,54,56-58 ; Apr 2009
Discusses the incorporation of "green" design into facilities for special needs students. Daylighting has been shown to be affective against seasonal affective disorder (SAD), good acoustics are particularly important to students with auditory issues, and good indoor air quality is particularly important to children whose health can be easily compromised.

New Reasons to Hope. [A New Green Generation.]
Gutter, Rachel
American School Board Journal; v196 n4 , p46,48 ; Apr 2009
Reviews efforts to create "sustainability natives" among the digital native students currently enrolled. High performance buildings that also serve as a learning tool are emphasized.

Making the Change to Sustainability: Building Green Builds a Better Education. Adobe PDF
Hoffman, Paul J.
Techniques: Connecting Education and Careers; v84 n3 , p16-21 ; Apr 2009
In addition to healthier students and staff, this describes significant long-term cost savings among the benefits that the recipients of an environmentally friendly educational facility enjoy. Improved test scores, lower absenteeism, better morale, greater community support, stronger teacher retention and a more positive impact on the environment are all additional benefits that school administrators can expect from a sustainable school.

Going Green by Thinking Blue.
Womack, Jack
School Planning and Management; v48 n4 , p38,40-42,44 ; Apr 2009
Discusses the use of rainwater as a teaching tool, by creating rain gardens bioswales, permeable pavers, and green roofs at school facilities. Explanations of these four features and advice on how to create them are offered, along with advantages of retaining rainwater onsite and use of native plant species.

The Building as the Teacher. Adobe PDF
Mason, Craig
Educational Facility Planner; v43 n4 , p31,32,34-36 ; 2009
Profiles Pioneer Middle School in DuPont, Washington. Through collaboration with administration and teachers, the building became a learning tool stressing environmental stewardship. Signage explaining how design reduces the building’s environmental impact, touchscreens that illustrate the buildings utilities usage, and outdoor learning areas are described.

Eco-Friendly Campuses as Teaching Tools. Adobe PDF
Erwin, Stephen J.; Kearns, Thomas D.
New England Journal of Higher Education; v23 n2 , p31-32 ; Fall 2008
Sustainable design projects offer academic communities the opportunity to make the design and operations of their campuses part of the larger lessons of social and environmental responsibility that are integral parts of higher education.

Teaching Green. (Green Schools Teach Green Lessons.)
Woodside, Daniel
American School Board Journal; v195 n10 , p26,27 ; Oct 2008
Discusses how school building features are being used to teach sustainability within the curriculum. Examples include photovoltaic systems, collection and re-use of stormwater, retention ponds designed to create a wetland, onsite biological treatment of wastewater, and recycling and composting programs.

Sustainable Education Campus in Spain: Nature and Architecture for Training. Adobe PDF
Campos, Pablo
PEB Exchange; 2008/10 ; Jul 2008
Profiles a Spanish campus for education in sustainability, with campus design and landscaping as participants in the educational program.

Grounds for Health: The Intersection of Green School Grounds and Health-Promoting Schools.
Bell, Anne C.; Dyment, Janet E.
Environmental Education Research; v14 n1 , p77-90 ; Feb 2008
Despite the growing body of research on green school grounds, relatively little has been written about their relationship with health promotion, particularly from a holistic health perspective. This paper explores the power and potential of green school grounds to promote health and well-being and to be an integral element of multifaceted, school-based health promotion strategies. Specifically,it brings together recent research to examine green school grounds as places where the interests of educators and children's health advocates can meet, inform and support one another. Highlights the growing body of evidence that green school grounds, as a school setting, can contribute to children's physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being.

When the Facility Becomes the Culprit.
Barnett, Claire
Educational Facility Planner; v42 n4 , p13-16 ; 2008
Details health hazards to children in unhealthy school environments and cites the benefits of healthy, high performance schools.

Student-Centered Sustainable Design.
Hall, Michael
Educational Facility Planner; v42 n4 , p37-39 ; 2008
Discusses the prioritization of school sustainable design features that most directly impact occupant health and morale. These include indoor air quality, ventilation, thermal comfort, daylighting, acoustics, physical condition, small learning communities, and connection to community.

Building Green for Better Education.
Hoffman, Paul
Educational Facility Planner; v42 n4 , p17-19 ; 2008
Discusses the positive impact of sustainable school building features on learning, attitudes, staff morale, and attendance, illustrated with a profile of Wisconsin s LEED Gold certified North Pines High School.

Go Green.
Kennedy, Mike
American School and University; v80 n4 , p22,24,26,28 ; Dec 2007
Discusses ten significant reason to embrace sustainable design in school design and construction: to save energy, water, and money; reduce pollution; improve health; provide educational opportunities; use local resources; reuse materials; receive grants and subsidies; and to exhibit leadership and social responsibility.

Green Schools Cost a Little More...But Return Much More.
Sawchuk, Mike
American School and Hospital Facility; v30 n5 , p10,12,13 ; Sep-Oct 2007
Briefly reviews the threat that "non-green" school buildings might pose to occupants, the cost of green construction versus the savings, green cleaning, and benefits to learning that green buildings may afford.

Green Schools Pay Dividends Beyond the Bottom Line.
Lally, Maureen; Garibay, Pat
School Business Affairs; v73 n7 , p20,21 ; Jul 2007
Describes the benefits of a healthy school environment to occupant health and academic achievement, as well as the reduced operational costs of a high performance school.

Little Green Schoolhouse.
Evans, Deane
Architectural Record; Supplement , p23,24,26 ; Jan 2007
Reviews typical features and benefits of high performance schools, advises on how to get one built, and highlights the benefits gained in return for slightly higher construction costs. A list of links to additional information is included.

Going Green: Eco-Friendly Schools. You Can't Ignore the Benefits of Eco-friendly Schools.
Whelan, Debra Lau
School Library Journal; v53 n9 , p44-48 ; Jan 2007
Discusses the benefits of going eco-friendly schools and features Great Seneca Creek Elementary School in Germantown, Maryland. The school's 296,000-square-foot building--which runs on wind and solar power and boasts an irrigation pond--recently earned a silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.

Environmental Design and Educational Performance, with Particular Reference to "Green" Schools in Hampshire and Essex.
Edwards, Brian W.
Research in Education; v76 , p14-32 ; Nov 2006
Examines the argument that "green" schools enhance educational performance. Having set the context of the relationship between environmentalism and the design of schools in the twentieth century, the article explores the performance of a number of green schools built in the UK between 1980 and 1995. The aim is to discover whether attention to environmental or ecological design produces measurable benefits in terms of learning levels in the classroom and the general performance of the school. The methodology consists of comparing the performance of green schools with that of orthodox schools which share similar characteristics of size, location and socio-economic features, and then relating variables of educational performance to design features. Three initial findings are highlighted: first, the importance of classroom daylight levels to learning; second, the benefits to the school of secondary sun spaces; third, the need for attention to the relationship between ventilation and acoustic control in open-plan solar schools. [Author's abstract]

High-Performance Schools Improve Learning.
Garibay, Pat
School Business Affairs; v72 n5 , p18,19 ; May 2006
Discusses the attributes and benefits of high performance schools, with particular attention to energy-efficient HVAC systems that deliver comfort, high indoor air quality, and quiet operation at an affordable price.

A New Kind of Integration: Sustainable Design and Student Learning.
Bratlie, Ron
School Business Affairs; v71 n9 , p25-27 ; Oct 2005
Describes Elk River Area (Minnesota) School District's positive experience with sustainable design as an influence on school building design and environment, lower life cycle costs, and improved student achievement.

Schools Seek Formula for High Performance.
Brooks-Pilling, Tom; Wright, Chris
Building Operating Management; v52 n9 , p23,24,26,28,30 ; Sep 2005
Discusses the benefits to education and community of better ventilation, acoustics, sustainable design, and energy savings. Building features from Missouri's Hazelwood School District are provided as examples.

Building Better Schools.
Madsen, Jana
Buildings; v99 n7 , p60-63 ; Jul 2005
Cites statistics on the condition of America's schools and the benefits of high-performance schools to students, teachers, the environment, the school owner, and the community. The top design considerations of indoor air quality, thermal comfort, lighting, daylighting, and acoustics are discussed and eight online resources are provided.

Campus Buildings that Teach Lessons.
Fickes, Michael
College Planning and Management; v5 n3 , p14-18 ; Mar 2002
Describes how Brown University has begun looking at building design and performance as a shadow curriculum that supports or argues with the principles being taught in a building's classroom. Discusses the energy-efficient design and construction of W. Duncan MacMillan Hall, a building serving the geology, chemistry, and environmental sciences programs.

Better Learning in Better Buildings: Sustainable Design of School Facilities Helps Educational Mission
Pacific Northwest Energy Conservation & Renewable Energy Newsletter; Jul 30, 1999
Schools can better fulfill their educational mission if they design and construct buildings on sustainability principals, including energy efficiency. This is the belief of Bill Dierdorff, the business manager for Oregon's North Clackamas School District, which is planning a new high school featuring natural ventilation, abundant daylighting, extensive resource efficiencies, and other elements of a light environmental footprint.



Due to lack of funding, the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities is currently available only as an archived site. As of September 1, 2012 no new content will be added or updates made. We regret the need to take such steps, but should funding become available, we look forward to reinvigorating NCEF and providing this valuable resource to the educational facilities community.

If you have questions or are an organization or company wishing to support the continued operation of this industry recognized resource please contact Institute President Henry Green (, 202-289-7800).