The self-administered survey was conducted over the Internet by Bayer Consulting from Aug. 12-26, 2005.
According to the survey, more K-12 school districts and higher educational institutions are recognizing that green facilities provide a more effective learning environment. The interest in green educational facilities is part of a broader recognition of the importance of the physical environment to the health and performance of students and teachers. Large percentages of executives at organizations involved with green K-12 facilities rated them more highly than traditional facilities on a range of benefits, including reduced student absenteeism (72%) and improved student performance (71%).
Executives at organizations involved with green college and university facilities also reported that the facilities generated benefits relevant to higher education, including ability to attract students (70%) and student performance (59%).
Executives remain concerned about the higher construction costs of green schools, often due to inaccurate estimates of the costs required to incorporate green features, says Turner. The survey revealed that most educational institutions either don't consider total long-term costs at all or else are much more heavily focused on initial construction costs.
Only half the executives involved with K-12 facilities said that school districts typically considered total costs over the lifecycle of a new construction project. Similarly, 73% of executives involved with higher education facilities said they typically consider long-term costs. Even when long-term costs are considered, school districts and higher educational institutions usually give them less weight than they give to initial costs.
"The overall message of these findings is that far more education and information are still required about the experience with green construction. Although most executives believed that green facilities generate a host of benefits to their occupants and also are less expensive over time, executives appeared to lack confidence that they can achieve these outcomes. Many executives don't yet recognize the proven track record that exists for sustainable construction and the growing acceptance of green construction standards provided by the LEED green building standards," stated Rod Wille, senior vice president, Sustainable Construction, Turner Construction.