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Greening America's Schools: Expenses and Advantages

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  1. Greening America’s Schools: Costs and Benefits Author: Greg Kats Capital E Report, 2006

  2. Sponsoring Organizations: • American Federation of Teachers • American Institute of Architects • American Lung Association • Federation of American Scientists • US Green Building Council “This carefully documented study conclusively demonstrates the financial, environmental, and other benefits of using green technologies in schools. In fact, failure to invest in green technologies is not financially responsible for school systems; the study uses conservative accounting practices to show that investments in green technologies significantly reduce the life-cycle cost of operating school buildings. And the public benefits of green schools are even larger than those that work directly to the financial advantage of schools. These include reductions in water pollution, improved environmental quality, and increased productivity of learning in an improved school environment.” - Henry Kelly, President, Federation of American Scientists

  3. Green Building Elements

  4. Importance of School Design • 55 million students are in school everyday • Schools typically designed just to meet codes • Studies show that many schools are unhealthy – poor ventilation, poor lighting • School conditions impact both student health and ability to learn • School budgets are often constrained – struggle to maintain facilities and improve educational standards

  5. From: “2005 Survey of Green Building,” Turner construction. Survey of 665 senior executives. Available at:

  6. Study objective How much more do green schools cost? Is greening schools cost effective? Methodology To evaluate the costs and benefits of green schools, we calculated net present value (NPV) which represents the present value of an investment’s discounted future financial benefits minus any initial investment.

  7. Assumptions • Typical School • Term: 20 years NC, 15 years retrofit • Inflation: 2% • Discount rate: 5% real • 2006 base year • Energy Prices: • Electricity: $0.09 kWh • Natural gas: $0.115/ thousand CF • Annual Increase: 5% per year • Green Building Standards: • LEED • MA CHPS (Collaborative for High Performance Schools) • WSS (Washington Sustainable School (WSS) Protocol for High Performance Facilities)

  8. Green Schools used in analysis

  9. Green Schools (cont.)

  10. Financial Benefits of Green Schools • Benefits to school • Energy savings • Water savings • Teacher retention • In-school health care cost savings • Benefits to broader community • Emissions reductions • Increased earnings • Stormwater reduction • Employment impact • Health care cost savings

  11. Energy and water benefits • Direct Energy Cost Savings (~33%) • Indirect Energy Savings (price impact) • Equal to 50% of Direct Energy Cost Savings • Emissions Reduction NOx, SO2, CO2, PM10, Hg • Water/Wastewater Efficiency • Indoor Low-flow Plumbing, Landscaping, Rainwater Catchment • Reduced water/sewer expenditures (~32%) • Avoided societal costs of increasing capacity and of water and wastewater treatment

  12. Health & Learning Benefits of Green Schools Increased Learning, Productivity & Performance (3%) Increased Future Earnings of Students (1.4%) Reduced Asthma (25%) Reduced Colds and Flu (15%) Reduced Teacher Turnover (3%)

  13. Employment Benefits of Green Schools • Energy Efficiency • 3 short term jobs, ½ of a long term job per school • Renewable Energy • More labor intensive, less polluting (not quantified) • Waste Diversion • Recycling creates nearly 2x more jobs than waste disposal (not quantified)

  14. The Financial Benefits of Green School Design ($/ft2) Source: Greening America’s Schools, Capital E, 2006

  15. Additional Benefits not Quantified • Reduced Teacher Sick Days (probably ~$2/ft2) • Insurance and risk related benefits • Lower Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Costs • Enhancement of generating system reliability and improved power quality • Improving equity and addressing spiritual values • Educational enrichment as an aspect of greener, healthier facilities • Slowing global warming

  16. Global Warming is Now

  17. Insurance Impact of Green Design

  18. Greening Affordable Housing 6,000 units in 25 states in first 22 months of initiativePartners Include: Enterprise Foundation Fannie Mae JP Morgan Citibank

  19. The Financial Benefits of Green School Design ($/ft2) Source: Greening America’s Schools, Capital E, 2006

  20. Greg Kats Managing Principal, Capital E 1666 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 310 Washington, DC 20009 Phone: (202) 463-1399 Jon Braman Researcher, Capital E 1666 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 310 Washington DC 20009 Phone: (202) 463-1550