WASHINGTON, March 2, 2016 - A researcher at the University of Missouri finds that students who attend school in buildings specifically designed to be “green” exhibit higher levels of knowledge about energy efficiency and environmentally friendly building practices, which, in the future, may lead them to own and operate buildings that are green.

Laura Cole, an assistant professor of architectural studies in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences, examined five middle schools from across the country ranging from older, energy inefficient designs to new buildings architecturally designed as “teaching green” buildings.

Daily exposure to these energy efficient building designs at school, along with a sustainable school culture fostered by educators, allows students to inherently learn and appreciate the importance of green buildings, Cole said.

The study found that students from the ‘teaching green’ schools had much higher levels of knowledge about environmentally friendly practices than students who attended school in more energy inefficient buildings. The students also had much higher levels of environmentally friendly behaviors while at school, such as recycling and turning off lights when a room is not in use.

“Anything educators can do to utilize existing space can help their students’ green building literacy,” Cole said. “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.”


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