‘Teaching Green’ buildings important for future of green technology, study finds

Half of fossil fuel emissions in the U.S. are created by the electricity used to power non-environmentally friendly buildings.

Students who attend school in green buildings are more educated on energy efficiency and environmentally friendly building practices, according to a recent study by an MU researcher.

The study also found that educating children on these processes could have a major effect on the value they find in owning and operating green buildings in the future.

Laura Cole, assistant professor of architectural studies, studied five middle schools across the country. The schools were located in buildings ranging from older, energy inefficient designs to new buildings architecturally designed as “teaching green” buildings.

MU is moving toward building green as well. The South Providence Medical Park, which opened Jan. 20, 2015, contains many energy-saving and cost-efficient features, according to an MU Health Care news release.

The study suggests that if students are exposed to innovative green technology coupled with the normalcy of a school environment every day, the students will internalize the importance of having green buildings, Cole said in a news release. The buildings operate as a museum-type structure so the students can learn the green technology.

Cole said in the release that even when not in a “teaching green” building, discussing and teaching students about green technology can benefit them.

“Anything educators can do to utilize existing space can help their students’ green building literacy. We all use buildings every day,” Cole said in the release. “Our children will soon be the people buying and constructing homes, offices and other buildings. Learning and translating that knowledge into future green building design will play a huge part in solving our environmental problems.”

Edited by Hailey Stolze | hstolze@themaneater.com

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