Finding 1: In its review thus far, the committee has found the following:

  • There are no well-designed, evidence-based studies concerning the overall effects of green schools on the health or development of students and teachers, in part because the concept of green schools is quite new. There are, however, a few well-designed studies that examine specific building features often emphasized in green school design and the effects of these components on health and learning.

  • Given the level of interaction between people and their environments and other confounding factors, establishing cause-and-effect relationships between an attribute of a school building and its effect on students, teachers, and staff is difficult. The effects of the built environment will necessarily appear to be small, given the number of variables.

  • Empirical measures do not, however, necessarily capture all relevant considerations that should be applied when evaluating research results. Qualitative aspects of the environment are also important. Thus, in the committee’s collective judgment, there is value in attempting to identify design features and building processes and practices that may lead to improvements in learning, health, and productivity for students, teachers, and other school staff, even if empirical results are less than robust.

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