Location: Green schools place emphasis on access to a variety of transportation options. Reducing car trips made by single riders cuts back on carbon emissions from transportation.
Alternative transportation options: Bicycle racks, safe bike paths and sidewalks encourage an active lifestyle and decrease emissions. Alternative fuel buses reduce CO2 emissions, smog and ground-level ozone.
Open space: When students have opportunities to connect with the outdoors, they exhibit improved well-being and productivity. Open spaces with qualities that support environmental goals could include community gardens, vegetated roofs and preserved habitats with learning opportunities that provide visual interest all year long.
Daylight: Skylights and large windows allow daylight to stream in, reducing energy costs and improving student concentration and performance. Adjustable blinds and shades help reduce glare. Light shelves bounce sunlight deep into the room and provide even light distribution.
Thermal comfort: Comfortable indoor temperatures enhance productivity and keep students more alert. Fresher, cleaner air can be achieved with windows that open or ventilation systems that provide a constant supply of air.
Low-emitting materials: Using paint and carpet adhesives that don't emit toxic gases and ceiling tiles, wall systems and furniture made with nontoxic materials will improve air quality in the classroom and throughout the school. High indoor air quality keeps students and faculty healthier and reduces absences related to respiratory conditions and other environmental illnesses.
Energy-efficient lighting: Adequate levels of the right kind of light can save energy and enhance learning conditions. Adding remote sensors, individual controls and task lighting can greatly reduce electricity costs.
Acoustics: Improved acoustics can be achieved with acoustical ceiling tiles, lined ductwork and quiet HVAC systems with appropriately placed vents. Classrooms with improved acoustics create a more productive learning environment for students and allow teachers to be heard without straining their voices.
Water efficiency: Students get a firsthand lesson in how to use water more conservatively when low-flow fixtures, waterless urinals and dual-flush toilets are used in school facilities. Water-efficient fixtures can reduce total water use by as much as 50%.