Community Development Innovation Review

March 2014

Charter Schools Ripe for Green Investments


Recent evidence points to the long-term financial benefits of sustainable schools. These benefits more than offset any initial cost premium. An increasing number of green schools are being built and operated for less than traditional buildings. Green schools reduce both negative impacts on the environment and ongoing building maintenance and operating costs. Specifically, efficient lighting, heating, and cooling systems, greater use of natural light and light sensors, and better-insulated walls and roofs all contribute to reduced energy consumption and costs. Reduced use of electricity and gas in green buildings leads to fewer pollutants. Rainwater catchment, green roofs, and low-flow fixtures help conserve water and reduce wastewater. Beyond the environmental and financial benefits of sustainable facilities, indoor air quality, temperature control, lighting and acoustics have direct effects on student and teacher productivity. Green schools promote a healthy, productive learning environment, improved teacher retention, hands-on learning opportunities, and environmental stewardship. In addition, green schools can serve as examples in their communities, providing opportunities to share the lessons and rewards of sustainable development.

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Other articles in this issue

Mixing Asset Building with Energy Efficiency: A Recipe for Financial and Environmental Sustainability

The Future of the Clean (Green) Economy

Cleaner Energy and Health: Household, Local and Global Benefits

Financing Energy Efficiency Retrofits of Affordable Multifamily Buildings

Manufactured Homes Help Both Save the Planet and Save Money for Low-Income Owners

Utilities and Community Developers Partner to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Affordable Rental Housing Nationwide

Integrating Energy Efficiency into Mortgage Financing: Promising Efforts in the New York City Multifamily Building Sector

Home Energy Efficiency and Mortgage Risks: An Extended Abstract

Financing Energy Efficiency in Low-Income Multifamily Rental Housing: A Progress Update from the Low Income Investment Fund

Neighborhood Health: A New Framework for Investing in Sustainable Communities

Bringing Down Green Financing Costs: How a State-sponsored Bank Might be the Key

Understanding the True Benefits of both Energy Efficiency and Job Creation

Can Cities Lead the Way in Innovative Energy Retrofits for Single-Family Homes?

Lenders’ Property Standards and Energy Efficiency: The Vital Link for Affordable Housing

Energy to Heal: Health Care, Climate Change, and Community Resilience