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11 ways to green school


Free Design Software for Students!

Click here to download a free Autodesk license. Check out these great green design lessons:

Green Cabin Design
Contain It Housing
Bike Pavilion

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Download GEF Institute's green building lessons and classroom supplements!

Learn About Green Building

Use GEF's resources and lessons to learn more about green building! Consider some of these statistics to understand the impact buildings have on the environment. 

Energy Use and Conservation
  • Buildings consume 39% of the total energy and 74% of the electricity used in the U.S.
  • LEED-certified buildings consume approximately 25% less energy, on average, than comparable non-certified buildings.
  • Buildings account for 40% of all carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S.
  • Green buildings have 33% less greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy.

Water Use and Conservation
  • Each day 5 billion gallons of drinking water is used to flush toilets.
  • Buildings account for 13% of all drinking water consumption in the U.S.
  • Water savings from LEED-certified commercial buildings is expected to grow to 7% of all non-residential water use by 2020.
  • It has been estimated that about 4% of our electrical power is used for moving and treating water and wastewater nationwide.
  • 5% of U.S. carbon emissions result from moving, treating and heating water.
  • Thermoelectric (fossil fuel, biomass, nuclear) generating plants use about 25 gallons of fresh water for every kilowatt of electricity produced.
  • 30,000 gallons of water are required to manufacture an automobile.

Land Use, Site and Landscape Design
  • Development shifts land usage away from natural, biologically-diverse habitats to built areas that are impervious and lack biodiversity.
  • Americans use 800 million gallons of gasoline each year mowing their lawns, and gas-powered lawn mowers produce 5% of air pollution (higher in metropolitan areas).

The Built Environment
  • People in the U.S. spend about 90% of their time indoors.
  • Businesses with employees working in LEED-certified buildings are expected to realize $2 billion in annual productivity gains by 2020. “People friendly” green design reduces absenteeism and improves work quality.
  • Students with the most daylighting in their classrooms progressed 20% faster on math tests and 26% faster on reading tests in one year than those with less daylighting.
  • Green buildings have 27% higher occupant satisfaction
  • EPA studies indicate indoor levels of pollutants may be up to ten times higher than outdoor levels.

Materials and Resources
  • A typical building construction project produces 2.5 pounds of solid waste per square foot of completed floor space.
  • Buildings account for 40% of raw materials use in The U.S.
  • Buildings account for 30% of all waste output in the U.S.
  • Over 2 pounds of waste is generated per day for every resident in the U.S. by the construction and demolition of buildings.