Over 30% of Americans feel that the majority of U.S. schools are in “poor shape,” according to a survey of 1,000 citizens that was sponsored by United Technologies Corp. and the USGBC’s Center for Green Schools.
“These survey results demonstrate that the majority of Americans believe that maintaining our existing outdated, inefficient, and wasteful school infrastructure simply isn’t good enough,” says Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chair of USGBC.
They may be right. The U.S. Government Accountability Office reports that at least 25,000 U.S. schools are in need of extensive repair and replacement.
“In 2008 alone, the U.S. deferred an estimated $254 billion in school facility maintenance. This inadequate investment has led to a significant number of schools in need of major repair and replacement,” says Fedrizzi.
By constrast, nearly three out of four Americans support federal investment in school building improvements focused on creating healthier learning environments, saving tax dollars, or lowering carbon emissions.
A green school typically delivers the following benefits:
- Saves an average of $100,000 per year on operating costs
- Uses 33% less energy and 32% less water than conventionally constructed schools
- Reduces carbon emissions by an estimated 585,000 pounds annually
- Curbs absenteeism and improves student performance
- Generates cost savings that can be redirected to teacher salaries and resources.
If all new U.S. school construction and renovation went green today, it is estimated that the total energy savings alone would be $20 billion over the next 10 years.