The New Environmentalist reports that (not surprisingly) students perform better in eco-friendly schools, where they are surrounded by plants, fresh air and natural light. Research has shown that people are most productive when they are comfortable at their workplace. This includes students and teachers. The three biggest factors that contribute to building comfort are light (and the quality of it), indoor air quality (including temperature control and comfort) and, for schools, acoustics.

Fluorescent lights can flicker and be distracting, stale air in a room can make students tired and lethargic, and allergens like mold, dust and other airborne particulates can cause respiratory problems. All of these things can add up to students not operating at peak levels, which can already be lowered by psychological issues such as test anxiety and social pressures.

Studies show that students in a classroom with proper levels of reflected diffused sunlight, which avoids glare, score up to 20% higher on math and reading tests than students in classrooms with only electric lighting. Although technology can be used to achieve these effects, including hybrid solar lighting, many of the best “green” schools are quite low-tech. Windows that open (during warmer weather of course), well-placed skylights, a fountain or humidifierm, and lots of plants, can all help transform a conventional classroom into a healthier and environmentally-friendly classroom that will make students feel more relaxed and comfortable in their surroundings.
via The New Environmentalist

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Steve holds a degree in Environmental Engineering Technology from Humber College in Toronto, is a LEED Accredited Professional and a Certified Sustainable Building Advisor. He currently lives in Victoria BC and works as a green building consultant specializing in residential projects.


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