According to a new report recently released by McGraw-Hill Construction entitled “New & Retrofit Green Schools-The Cost Benefits and Influence of a Green School on its Occupants,” both K-12 and universities are reporting significant benefits from their green school efforts—both in improved child health, well-being and performance but also teacher and faculty satisfaction. These results are accompanied by reported financial benefits from green school activities.

According to the study, nearly all K–12 school (91%) and university (89%) respondents report that green schools have improved the health and well-being of their students. Additionally, 70% of K –12 schools and 63% of university leaders report green efforts as raising test scores of their students.

Leaders also report other benefits from their green schools efforts:

• 83% of K-12 and 85% of university leaders report increased faculty satisfaction as a result of teaching in a green school.

• Nearly a third (32%) of K -12 school leaders report reduced student absenteeism.

• 48% of K-12 and 56% of university leaders who increased access to natural light and views into their classrooms reported increased student engagement.

• 44% of K-12 and 51% of university leaders who included improved acoustics in their green projects noticed improvement in student attentiveness as a result of those improvements.

“As our leaders of tomorrow, our nation’s children and young adults need healthy places where they can learn and prosper. We also need active, engaged teachers who can help facilitate this learning. This study reinforces the link between green building practices and student and faculty well-being,” said Harvey Bernstein, vice president, Industry Insights and Alliances for McGraw-Hill Construction. “These are powerful results and help to underscore why we are seeing schools shift increasingly toward exclusively building and improving their schools with green building practices and products.”

McGraw-Hill Construction’s Dodge Green Construction Outlook, drawn from proprietary project data reported in November that 54% of education construction was green in 2012—up from 30% in 2008, and it is expected to grow, which reinforces the importance of this study and the benefits green buildings can offer.

The report also includes opinions from the design and construction community, and reports from their clients mirror the results from the schools and universities directly. 85% of architects report a positive impact on health and well-being from their green school projects, and 85% of them are reflecting student mobility and health concerns into the design of their buildings.

The study was produced with the support of the U.S. 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, National Building Museum, Society for Colleges and University Planning, and Second Nature.

The report was released with the opening of the new Green Schools exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.