Schools and Universities to Continue Investment in New & Retrofit Green Building at High Levels, According to New McGraw-Hill Construction Study Health and well-being are as important as cost savings in driving the green education market; More than 75% of respondents cite both factors as key drivers for green building in the education sector
NEW YORK, Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a new study by McGraw-Hill Construction, both K-12 and universities plan to continue investments in green schools, citing financial and social benefits.
The New & Retrofit Green Schools study shows social benefits, such as improved health and productivity, are critical drivers for the education sector and equally as important as financial drivers.
"Over 75 percent of respondents consider improving indoor air quality and enhancing health and well being as key drivers, which is nearly the same percentage that cite financial benefits, such as lower operating costs and reduced energy use," said Harvey Bernstein, vice president, Industry Insights and Alliances for McGraw-Hill Construction. "In the K-12 sector, social factors are particularly prominent, with over 75% of respondents also citing increased student performance as an important element of their decision to build green. Aside from the real benefits to our young people in their development, this is also particularly important at driving future green building growth, as our next generation of construction industry professionals learn practices that will become embedded into the design and construction of all buildings in the future."
Additional social benefits of green building cited by respondents include:
- Improved test scores, reported by 70 percent of K-12 respondents;
- Increased enrollment, reported by 39 percent of higher education respondents;
- Increased reputation, reported by 65 percent of higher education;
- Positive impact on student health and well-being, reported by all K-12 respondents and 90 percent of higher education respondents
The study also shows that cost savings are critically important to the education sector, as they are to all other sectors. Over 75 percent of respondents in both K-12 and higher education report that reducing energy use, operational savings, and improving 10-year operating costs are important reasons that have led them to build green. Financially, 58 percent of administrators, facility managers and school design, and construction and real estate staffs at K-12 schools report decreased energy use in their green buildings, and 55 percent cite lower annual costs. For higher education, the financial benefits equate to 55 percent of respondents reporting decreased energy use and 46 percent reporting lower annual costs.
"At Lutron, we're committed to sustainable buildings," said Gerard Darville, director of the energy business unit. "This research shows that the market is looking for tangible benefits from their building improvement investments, and our suite of wireless control solutions, including lighting controls, sensors and automated shades, can be easily retrofitted into any school or building, offering energy savings and enhanced comfort in the space. These wireless control solutions also make the spaces more versatile and allow for easy reconfiguration without disruption to the students," said Darville.
In addition, 81 percent of the respondents for the K-12 sector report doing at least some new green projects over the last three years, and 84 percent report doing green renovations.
"The findings captured in the study provide a roadmap to the Center and our partners for accelerating our movement to ensure that every student has the opportunity to learn in a safe, healthy and efficient place," said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council. "If we are going to chip away at the $400 billion deferred maintenance bill for U.S. schools and universities, we have to understand with absolute clarity what the challenges school administrators and designers face, as well as the opportunities before them."
The need for better measures, more consistently applied, to gauge the impact of green building in the future was also unveiled in the study. Over 40 percent of both the K-12 and higher education respondents do not know the longer-term impact of their build improvements.
"We have seen this same trend in the industry: the challenge of being able to quantify the real benefits of sustainable practices in terms that matter most to schools, which is why we have been so focused on modeling and proving those benefits as essential ingredients for superior student and staff performance," said Marijke A. Smit, vice president, Strategic Partnerships at Project Frog. "Through our component building systems, we can provide replicable and measurable results of the benefits of sustainability as a powerful driver of better, healthier, learning environments that are more cost effective to operate and show added benefits to schools by increasing student attendance and performance."
The study was produced with the support of the U.S. Green Building Council Center for Green Schools, Lutron, Project Frog and Siemens. Survey and data partners included the Council of Educational Facility Planners International, The American Institute of Architects, Associated General Contractors of America, Green Schools National Network, National Association of Independent Schools, Society for Colleges and University Planning, and Second Nature.
Key findings of the study will be presented today at 5:00 p.m. at McGraw-Hill Construction's Exhibit Booth #3539 in the North Hall of the Moscone Center at the Greenbuild Expo in San Francisco. The U.S. Green Building Council will be holding a discussion panel at 11:00 a.m. Thursday morning at the Center for Green Schools booth in the lower level of the North building outside the expo hall.
For more key findings from the New & Retrofit Green Schools study, visit http://bit.ly/Upg7ku. The full report containing these and other study results will be published as part of McGraw-Hill Construction's SmartMarket Report series in the first quarter of 2013.
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