Examining the relationships of exposures from building materials, cleaning products, and cleaning effectiveness to student and teacher health, student learning, or teacher productivity.
The role of light on learning as well as life-long effects on health in children, particularly with regard to the role that lighting in school environments plays in regulating sleep and wakefulness in children.
Determining optimum reverberation times that will ensure adequate speech levels without excessive reverberation in classrooms for children of various ages.
The efficacy, costs, and benefits of alternative ventilation strategies for the dispersion and removal of airborne infectious agents.
The use of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation in supplemental or portable air cleaning devices in school room applications and its effects on human health.
The committee recognizes that additional areas of research could also provide valuable information that could lead to improved indoor environments in schools. However, determining which areas of research may yield the most positive outcomes, and the most valuable information related to school building design, construction, and operations was beyond the resources and scope of this study.
The complexity of evaluating the effects of green schools on building occupants, the difficulty of designing research studies that can control for numerous confounding factors, and the difficulty of detecting significant effects has been discussed. As noted in Chapter 2, much of the research conducted to date has focused on one or two building systems and one or two potential outcomes. 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, science, medicine and social science expertise is a challenge but multidisciplinary research is required to fully study the relationships of indoor environmental quality to human health and performance outcomes.
In the following sections, the committee discusses methodologies that could potentially be used for future interdisciplinary research and identifies issues that should be addressed if the evidence base for the effects of green schools on students’ and teachers’ health, student learning, and teacher productivity is to be improved.