School Buildings Designed as 'Teaching Green' Can Lead to Better Environmental Education

Friday, March 4, 2016

Teaching children about the importance of environmentally-friendly buildings could be a key contributor to whether they end up owning and managing green buildings. University of Missouri (MU) professor Laura Cole found students who attend school in green buildings gain more knowledge about energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly building practices. Her study concentrated on five U.S. middle schools ranging from older, energy-inefficient designs to new buildings designed as "teaching green" buildings. Among the "teaching green" design features highlighted in the study were open-air hallways, exposed beams and girders, recycling spaces, and the use of recycled and repurposed construction materials. "The idea is that by being exposed to this innovative design every day at school, along with a sustainable school culture fostered by educators, students will inherently learn and appreciate the importance of green buildings," Cole says. "This study found this idea to be true in that the students from the 'teaching green' schools had much higher levels of knowledge about environmentally-friendly practices than students who attended school in more inefficient buildings. These students also had much higher levels of environmentally-friendly behaviors while at school, such as recycling and turning off lights." 3/4/2016

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