Green school investment is ripe

Green schools = Productive and healthy mind for students + Extra money for schools. This was the message sent last month at BASF’s High Performance Buildings for Education summit held in New York City.

While construction chemical companies are indeed seeing great business potential in growing green buildings trend, there is no doubt (as seen on different case presentations that day) that the education sector will benefit greatly from making school buildings eco-friendly, energy-efficient, and sustainably designed.

According to BASF, the timing for long-term investment in school infrastructure is ripe because of the large federal economic stimulus plan which is providing schools with $90bn. The company said the summit was aimed at providing information on current construction chemicals technology available to retrofit or build green schools.

High-performance green schools in the US is said to spend approximately $85/student in energy costs while conventional schools spend $150/student.

BASF added that upfront installation expenses in constructing high-performance buildings are usually just 1-2% above conventional school buildings.

“In fact, it lowers the total cost of ownership when you factor in reduction in energy costs, water use and other operational costs by implementing sustainable design and solutions to the building’s construction,” said Jack Armstrong, leader, construction markets for BASF North America.

Efforts to make schools green are expanding, according to the US Green Building Council (news via The number of green schools has grown to the current 185 LEED-certified schools (of the estimated 126,000 in the country). Almost 1,710 others are said to have been registered as LEED projects.

One of the criteria of making schools green, according to VivianLoftness from Carnegie Mellon University (who presented at the BASFSummit), is to make schools DRY! Meaning you have to eliminatemoisture, condensation, mildew and other moisture-related damage to aschool building. Heating, lighting, acoustic, air quality, cleanlinessand dynamic architectural design were also included in the criteria asbased on a study on health and productivity benefits of green schoolsreleased by the National Academy of Sciences.

More about the study below:

As mentioned before, chemical companies are benefiting on the green building trend as well. Check out my articlepublished in March about construction chemicals businesses expandingfrom the green trend despite slump in the overall construction market.

In another but sort-of related news, Dow Chemical launched last month its new Construction Chemicals business,which Dow said will focus on providing sustainable building materialsto the construction industry as reported in an interview with ICIS news.

Dow said the market for green building materials is growing faster than the overall construction materials market.

Here is an example of their insulation and wall system materials being used at the Syracuse University’s new basketball center.The system is said to help improve the thermal efficiency of newsteel-frame construction with less labor and cost than traditionalgypsum wall systems.

[Photo from the Baltimore County Public Schools]

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