Relationship of School Facilities Conditions Term Paper

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Some of those are as follows:

1) Affect the environment;

2) Either save or expend energy;

3) Economically feasible or expensive to maintain, heat and cool.

4) Affect student learning;

5) Affect the health of students and teachers alike and 6) Affect the retention of teachers. (Olson and Carney, 2004)

Criteria involved in the design, operation and maintenance of these 'sustainable' buildings are those as follows:

Sustainable site planning and landscaping design that decrease the use of pesticides and provide an outdoor learning environment for students;

Good building envelope design such as efficient windows and high R-value insulation that reduce draftiness and increase student and teacher comfort levels;

Proper lighting along with increased use of daylighting to improve student performance and increase comfort levels;

Good indoor air quality from adequate air filtration and exchange systems and the banning of idling buses or delivery trucks near buildings that eliminate toxins, allergens and other harmful pollutant sources. Incorporating natural gas, biodiesel, methanol, or solar electric buses into a district's existing vehicle fleet would also reduce harmful emissions and improve air quality in and around the school;

The use of green supplies and materials to eliminate or minimize possible sources of toxins, allergens and other harmful pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or formaldehyde. Use of green supplies and materials will also reduce contributions to lung ailments such as asthma.;

Proper design maintenance of heating, cooling, and ventilation systems that run quietly and efficiently and do not produce noisy distractions to student learning. Using certain controls can minimize noise distraction. The relatively small size of a typical classroom makes this decision more critical, because the effect of ventilation air noise is greater than in a larger space such as a gymnasium; and Onsite renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaics, that can be used as a teaching tool to develop student interest in alternative energy sources. (Olson and Carney, 2004)

Other than the protection that sustainable buildings provide to schools and communities these types of building designs are economical and save over the long-term to energy costs and further bring about improvement in "teacher retention and bolstering student performance. Insurance rates are further lowered and liabilities decreased. The benefits provide a great percentage of the expense accrued in constructing the sustainable school building. The environment and atmosphere of the school is "one factor in high attrition rates..." (Olson and Carney, 2004) Environmental conditions can significantly affect the experience teachers have in the classroom in terms of their ability to effectively educate students, their personal health and well-being, and their overall satisfaction with their profession." (Olson and Carney, 2004) School facilities further "affect student health and learning. While the interrelationship between buildings, occupant health, and performance may not be perfectly understood, growing evidence and common sense dictate that children cannot learn as well in suboptimal facilities that trigger health symptoms, cause discomfort or are distractingly noisy.

Indoor air quality, daylight, thermal conditions, acoustics and other factors that collectively shape overall indoor environmental quality plays a significant role in creating good learning spaces." (Olson and Carney, 2004) Olson and Carney state the indoor air quality is "...a primary variable in maintaining health indoor environments conducive to learning. Contaminants in indoor spaces may be two to five times - and sometimes greater than 100 times - higher than outdoor levels. This along with the significant amount of time that students and teachers spend inside schools and children's increase susceptibility to pollutants, underscores the importance of good indoor air quality." (Olson and Carney, 2004) Stated as symptoms known to be associated with indoor air quality being poor are those as follows:

Headache

Fatigue

Shortness of Breath

Sinus Congestions

Cough

Sneezing

Eye, nose and throat irritation

Skin irritation

Dizziness

Nausea (Olson and Carney, 2004)

These symptoms are referred to collectively as "sick building syndrome" which is a term that describes "situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spend in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified." (Olson and Carney, 2004) the health threats are accompanied by affects on "...concentration, attendance, student performance and achievement." (Olson and Carney, 2004) the American Lung Association states: "...asthma, which is exacerbated by poor indoor air quality, alone accounts for 14 million missed school days each year, making it a leading cause of school absenteeism." (Olson and Carney, 2004) Olson and Carney report that a study conducted in 1992 in Alberta Canada over a two-year period that made a comparison of children who attended schools with 'full-spectrum' light vs. those attending schools that were similar with normal lighting in the schools. The study states findings that full spectrum light with trace ultraviolet resulted in students: (1) learning faster; (2) testing higher; (3) growing faster and having fewer than expected cavities; and (4) 1/3 fewer absences from school attributed to illnesses (3.5 fewer days per year absent). (2004) These findings support the belief that lighting systems in school either have negative or positive effects and should not be considered a neutral factor in schools. (2004)

Olson and Carney additionally relate the study conducted in 1999, by the Heschong Mahone Group which is stated to be "one of the largest and most rigorous studies investigating the relationship between daylighting and student performance" and states results that indicate "that students in classrooms with the most daylighting progressed faster and scored higher on standardized tests than students with the least daylighting. A 2001 reanalysis of the data showed that overall, elementary school students in classrooms with the most daylight showed a 21% improvement in learning rates compared to students in classrooms with the least daylight. The study also found that students with well-designed skylights in their room, ones that diffused daylight and allowed teachers to control the amount of light entering the room, progressed 19 to 20% faster than those students without a skylight." (Olson and Carney, 2004) it is very important to note the statement of Olson and Carney that "A Turner Construction green building survey conducted over the Internet by Bayer Consulting between August 12-26, 2005 states finding that over seventy-percent of executives believe that green buildings enhance student performance and teacher retention. " (2004) survey reported to be conducted by 'Building Design & Construction and Reed Research Group' in 2004 reported that "the expectation of higher initial construction costs is the greatest impediment to acceptance of green schools with sixty-three percent of respondents citing this as a barrier. At the same time, a Turner Construction survey showed that seventy-three percent of executives who had experience with green K-12 educational facilities expected total costs over 20 years to be lower when compared to conventional facilities. (Olson and Carney, 2004) According to Rod Wille, Senior VP of Turner Construction: "The overall message of these findings is that far more education and information are still required about the experience with Green construction. Although most executives believed that Green facilities generate a host of benefits to their occupants and are less expensive over time, executives appeared to lack confidence that they can achieve those outcomes. Many executives don't yet recognize the proven track record that exists for sustainable construction..." (Olson and Carney, 2004) Another area in which those who make decisions concerning construction of schools according to Theresa Lehman who works with the Boldt Company is in her experience to be "misperceptions surrounding funding issues and communication barriers between decision makers and other stakeholders are major obstacles. In addition to confirming that budget controllers tend to overlook life cycle costs, she notes that the people in charge of making decisions are often unaware of alternative funding opportunities such as performance contracting, tax benefits, tax credits and grants that reduce first cost burdens." (Olson and Carney, 2004) Informing the community concerning this information is vital. Olson and Carney state: "Lehman held an open house with the community to share information about the Luck K-12 project and discovered that people were literally shocked at the amount of money that could be saved by incorporating energy efficiency into the HVAC and lighting systems." (2004)

Olson and Carney further state that many incorrect assumptions concerning the initial construction costs of green or sustainable buildings. However, it has been shown in research that these costs are "lower than perceived..." (2004) Olson and Carney report 'The Costs and Financial Benefits of Building Green' a study that states conclusions that "sustainable design can be incorporated into a structure with little or no increase in construction costs, and that the financial benefits of green buildings are over ten times the average initial investment required to design and construct a green building." (2004) Financing barriers can be overcome through various mean, which are also described in the work…[continue]

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