All over the nation, elementary schools and major universities alike have been installing renewable energy systems and garnering LEED certification for energy efficient buildings. How does the average American feel about Uncle Sam investing in green schools like these? According to a new survey, sponsored by United Technologies and the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Center for Green Schools, nearly three out of four Americans support federal investment in school building improvements focused on creating healthier learning environments, saving tax dollars or lowering carbon emissions.
The independent survey included more than 1,000 Americans and was conducted via telephone from Sept.23 – 25, 2011, by GfK Custom Research North America. It revealed support not only for increased energy efficiency in the nation’s schools, but a failing grade in public perception for schools in general, with one in three of those surveyed reporting that the majority of U.S. schools are in “poor” shape. (Only six percent perceived U.S. schools to be in “excellent” shape.)
The U.S. Government Accountability Office reports that at least 25,000 U.S. schools are in need of extensive repair and replacement, and according to United Technologies and the USGBC’s Center for Green Schools, green schools save $100,000 per year on operating costs on average — enough to hire at least one new teacher, buy 200 new computers, or purchase 5,000 textbooks.
“A green school is an energy efficient school – meaning less money is spent on overhead like heating and cooling and more can be spent on keeping teachers in the classroom and getting them the resources they need,” said Sandy Diehl, Vice President, Integrated Buildings Solutions, United Technologies Corp., and a Center for Green Schools advisory board member, in a statement. The USGBC Center for Green Schools was launched in 2010 with United Technologies Corp. as the founding sponsor.