Kim Dempsey and Jennifer Afdahl Rice, Capital Impact Partners

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Volume 10, Issue 1 | March 25, 2014

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.