Green Schools: New Buildings and Renovations

Since our Education Green Building SmartMarket Report was published in 2007, schools have been demonstrably on the vanguard of green building, and we are happy to report that our latest research confirms that they continue to be leaders in green building. This study expands upon the research in 2007 by demonstrating that over 80% of the K-12 and higher education schools surveyed have conducted at least some green retrofits and operation improvements, and the percentage of those doing nearly all of these improvements green is expected to grow to just under one third in the next three years.

Like all other sectors, schools are driven by the goal of saving money and energy. However, this sector is unique among all those that we have studied in our series of green SmartMarket Reports because the impact of green schools on the health and well-being of their students is as important as energy in encouraging new green investments. In fact, the level of green work is so high in this sector because many report seeing the financial, health and well-being, and productivity benefits that they seek.

  • Two-thirds of green schools report that their school has an enhanced reputation and ability to attract students
  • 91% of K-12 schools and 87% of higher education state that green schools increase health and well-being
  • 74% of K-12 and 63% of higher education respondents report improved student productivity


The challenges and opportunities in capturing the full impact of green building extends to operational savings. When looking at the impact on their ten-year operating costs, 38% in K-12 and 39% in higher education report savings, but at least half of the respondents state they don’t know the impact of their green buildings. Given the importance of documenting benefits of green, being able to capture these benefits effectively is essential to support the case for future investments in green building and retrofits.


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