Thursday, September 9, 2010

Green Building Social Benefits

Although the environmental and economic benefits of green buildings are increasingly well known, the social benefits of green buildings are often ignored. Here is a summary of some of the research supporting the social benefits of green building.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, health and well being are supported by the indoor air quality inherent in green buildings. Poor indoor air resulting from insufficient air circulation, poor lighting, mold, temperature variances, carpeting, furniture materials, pesticides, toxic adhesives, paints, and other pollutants contribute to respiratory problems, allergies, nausea, headaches, and skin rashes.

The Heschong Mahone Group, found that green building that emphasizes ventilation and non-toxic, low emitting materials create healthier and more comfortable living and working environments.

According to a U.S. Green Building Council report titled, "Building Momentum: National Trends and Prospects for High-Performance Green Buildings," an estimated 40% of schools in the United States have poor environmental conditions that compromise the health and learning of students.

According to a Paladino & Company study titled "Washington High Performance School Buildings: Report to Legislature," green schools result in a 15% reduction in student absenteeism.

Improvements in test scores have also been shown in green schools. According to a study called "Greening America's Schools Costs and Benefits," a review of 30 green schools across the country concluded that "based on a very substantial data set on productivity and test performance of healthier, more comfortable study and learning environments, a 3-5% improvement in learning ability and test scores in green schools appears reasonable and conservative."
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