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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Healthy Schools Audit

Lesson Description:
Words like carbon footprint, eco-friendly and e-cycling have been tossed around a lot these days. Being green is as much a part of our culture as apple pie.  But what does it mean for schools? Healthy school building environments mean healthy students.  And taking care of the health of your building is as important as taking care of the health of students. Why? Students are affected by so many environmental factors in schools including poor indoor air quality, inadequate light, too many chemicals, inappropriate room temperature, and poor water quality.  

Children are so much smaller than adults and their bodies may not be well-equipped to handle poor school surroundings which can result in greater health problems. Higher absenteeism, increased respiratory ailments (asthma), lowered test scores, decreased staff and teacher productivity, allergies, flu, sick building syndrome (a combination of illnesses) are often the result of poor building health.   

Healthy school buildings that are safe for students to reside in can significantly benefit their ability to perform in schools.  For example, improved ventilation can reduce the number of cases of cold and flu.  Improved lighting and temperature control can improve a student’s mood and temperament, and contribute to less behavioral issues.   Improved air quality and reduced chemical use can drastically reduce the number of asthma and allergy cases for both students and staff.  Additional benefits of greening schools include reduced teacher sick days, lower operational and maintenance costs, reduced insurance and improved educational quality.

At times, school leaders are happy to just have a building to reside in and will take whatever comes their way. Tight budgets drive a lot of what can be improved in these schools. Many feel in order to create a healthy or green school building they need to have a brand new building, but that’s not the case.  There are some small changes your school can make on the road to becoming green.

The GEF Healthy Schools Audit helps to evaluate not only energy, light, and water inefficiencies in your school, but also the quality of chemical management, transportation, recycling, and more. Click on the image for a printable PDF of the Healthy Schools Audit.
Lesson Type:
  • Audit

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy
  • Green Building
  • Water

GEF Program Category:
  • Sustainable Water Challenge
  • Green Building Program
  • Green Energy Challenge

School or Group:
Green Education Foundation (GEF)
Contact Email:
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf Healthy School Audit.pdf
Located in: Science | Math

The Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse is brought to you in partnership with

Center for Green Schools