Green schools are better for budgets because they save money.
If all new U.S. school construction and renovation went green today, the total energy savings alone would be $20 billion over the next 10 years. Additionally, according to Greening America's Schools: Costs and Benefits by Greg Kats, green schools use 33% less energy and 32% less water than conventionally constructed schools, significantly reducing utility costs over the average 42-year lifecycle of a school. In terms of construction, green schools can be created at or below regional K-12 construction costs and operated within existing facilities budgets.
The Department of Energy’s EnergySmart Schools reports that K-12 schools spend more than $8 billion annually on energy, making energy the second highest operating expenditure for schools after personnel costs. The cost savings in green schools are generated from many sources, including energy-efficient heating and air conditioning systems, energy-efficient lighting and occupancy sensors, daylighting strategies, water-efficient fixtures and lower operations and maintenance expenses.
On average, green schools save $100,000 per year on operating costs—enough to hire at least one new teacher, buy 200 new computers, or purchase 5,000 textbooks.
Green schools strengthen the local economy, advance the use of new technologies and contribute to job growth. Setting green construction and renovation standards provides opportunities for people to develop needed skills for the new green economy.