By Karina Kinik
Does the phrase “green schools” conjure up images of moldy classrooms and gymnasiums? Take a cue from the Mother Nature Network’s eco-lifestyle TV shows and get hip to the world of environmentally friendly makeovers.
Don’t know your CFLs from your CFCs? You may be wondering why your kids' school, or any school, should go eco. Because green schools are cheaper to run, healthier, and possibly higher-performing than conventional ones: A 2006 report by the U.S. Green Building Council found that such schools yielded $74 per square foot in savings from energy efficiency, increased attendance, and teacher retention. Other research has linked schools’ indoor air quality to improved academic performance — an important consideration given that half of U.S. schools have poor ventilation and indoor pollution (high levels of lead, asbestos, pesticides, chemical fumes, and mold). Finally, studies on “daylighting” and classrooms suggest that students with the most exposure to natural light perform better.
By working closely with school officials and staff, parents can help implement policies that will benefit students and classrooms while protecting the planet.
Next: Breath of fresh air »
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