Chapter 5, “Lighting and Human Performance,” focuses on lighting quality as it affects both the visual and circadian systems, the relationship of light to learning and development, and sources of light and their various qualities.

Chapter 6, “Acoustical Quality, Student Learning, and Teacher Health,” describes how noise levels affect speech intelligibility and student learning, and how excessive noise may relate to voice impairment among teachers.

Chapter 7, “Building Characteristics and the Spread of Infectious Diseases,” addresses the issue of common infectious diseases (colds and flu and other viral infections) and building interventions that can help to interrupt the transmission of these diseases.

Chapter 8, “Overall Building Condition and Student Achievement,” summarizes the findings of a number of published and unpublished studies looking at overall conditions and functionality of school buildings and their effects on student achievement.

Chapter 9, “Processes and Practices for Planning and Maintaining Green Schools,” highlights the importance of participatory planning, setting up commissioning processes, monitoring building performance, postoccupancy evaluations, and training for educators and support staff.

Chapter 10, “Linking Green Schools to Health and Productivity: Research Considerations,” summarizes the committee’s specific suggestions for future research on green schools and discusses factors to be considered in designing such research.

Because indoor environmental quality is a composite of air quality, light and noise levels, temperature, humidity, and other factors and a result of the interactions of various building systems, some topics are discussed in more than one chapter. Thus, excess moisture in buildings and its relation to health is discussed in Chapters 3 (building envelope), 4 (indoor air quality) and 7 (building characteristics and the spread of infectious diseases).


Research literature from a diverse set of disciplines and from U.S. and international studies is reviewed and cited in this report. Two systems of measurement, English and metric, were used in the original studies. For example, some research on ventilation rates uses liters per person per second as a measure, while other research uses cubic feet per minute or air exchanges per hour. The committee provides explanations of the measures as appropriate. However, it has not attempted to convert such measures to a common standard, because doing so could result in inadvertent errors that would detract from this report and its findings.

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