Recommendation 9d: Educators, support staff, students, and other stakeholders should be informed of the design intent of a green school and given the appropriate information or training to fulfill their roles in using and operating a green school.

Linking Green Schools to Health and Productivity: Research Considerations

Finding 10a: Much is still not known about the potential interactions of building systems, materials, operation and maintenance practices and their effects on building occupants in general, or about school environments in particular. The necessary collaboration between architecture, engineering, physical science, medicine, and social science expertise is a challenge, but multidisciplinary research is required to fully study the potential relationship between a school building and the outcomes of students and teachers.

Finding 10b: In designing research studies to evaluate the unbiased effects of green schools on student learning or student and teacher health, several issues must be addressed. These include defining green schools for the purpose of scientific inquiry, defining performance and productivity outcomes plausibly related to green schools, and fully developing a theory explaining the links between green school design and health and learning effects. Finally, the hypotheses from these theories should be tested in ways that reduce systematic biases and provide compelling evidence about these linkages.

Finding 10c: Currently, the theory and evidence connecting green schools or characteristics associated with green schools to teacher or student outcomes is not sufficient to justify large-scale evaluations. However, the committee does consider it useful to carry out studies that assess the positive and negative consequences of the design and construction features as well as building performance characteristics that are associated with green schools using more rigorous study designs.

Finding 10d: Large-scale evaluations using randomized experiments and econometric or regression-based techniques should be conducted if they are justified from the results of smaller and less expensive studies, such as those outlined in Finding 10c. Finally, it is possible that improvements to the large-scale data sets that contain student achievement data will allow for relatively low cost studies of the effects of the school building environment on student achievement, which the committee considers to be an important side benefit.

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