Americans Want Green Schools

A new independent nationwide survey reveals three out of four Americans are supportive of green schools. The survey, sponsored by United Technologies Corp. (UTC) and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools, explores Americans’ attitudes toward the country’s public school buildings and investments to modernize school infrastructure. The results were announced today during a press conference at the Greenbuild Conference & Expo in Philadelphia.

The survey results show that 90 percent of Americans think it is important to improve public school buildings. Across political party lines, more than half of those surveyed (54 percent) would rate K-12 school buildings and infrastructure in the United States as poor or fair at best.

“The results of this nationwide survey are a call to action for elected officials and school leaders across the country,” says Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. “Nine out of 10 Americans believe that it’s time for us to invest in transforming aging school facilities into 21st century learning environments. Regardless of political affiliation, Americans agree: where our children learn matters.”

More than half of Americans surveyed also feel that the U.S. does not spend enough money on buildings and infrastructure in K-12 schools. Nearly half of respondents (49 percent) would donate to a green schools cause and 43 percent would volunteer time to green their own schools.

“Every day 25 percent of Americans go to school as students, faculty, staff and administrators. Green schools improve learning, health and productivity, while lowering operating costs. There is measurable opportunity here to improve the day-to-day life for a quarter of Americans,” says John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, UTC Building & Industrial Systems. “These results show a tremendous level of public support for school infrastructure improvements and the investment they will require.”

The Center for Green Schools estimates it will cost $271 billion to bring school buildings up to working order and comply with laws. If additional steps are taken to ensure schools meet today’s education, safety and health standards, the Center estimates that figure grows to $542 billion.

The independent survey of 500 Americans was conducted via telephone from Oct. 31 – Nov. 4, 2013, by David Binder Research.

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