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Research shows that ‘green’ schools provide better environments for learning because they keep students healthy and increase their focus, attention span, and memory. When teachers were asked to rate the importance of certain school features regarding sustainability initiatives, one of the areas that was consistently regarded as important was new room lighting, as well as the incorporation of outside views and natural light. In addition to these physical benefits there was also the cost and energy savings associated with being ‘green’ that were regarded as important.

Importance of Lighting Features by School Type

Teachers from senior high schools indicated the least (73%) for the importance of incorporating outside views and natural light, while elementary school teachers indicated its importance the most (81%)
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Considerations in Completed Projects

When taking a high-level look at the considerations in construction and renovation projects, some of the top choices focus on creating modern, sustainable schools. The top reported consideration among those who work in schools with completed construction was replacing or updating an aging school building and infrastructure (60%). This was also the top consideration among those who think that construction is needed in their schools. (65%). Note the difference between considerations about gymnasium enhancements in completed construction (22%) versus those from teachers where construction is needed (48%).

Considerations in Completed Projects by School Type

Across different school types, replacing or updating an aging school building and infrastructure (60%) was a top consideration. Senior high school teachers indicated the most (28%) that gymnasium updates were a consideration in a completed construction project.

Considerations in Desired Projects by School Size

Though some differences exist, considerations for desired construction across all school sizes included replacing or updating an aging school building and infrastructure (65% overall). Teachers from small and medium-size schools desired gymnasium updates the most (57% and 55% respectively).

Modifications Desired for Future Construction—The Addition of Natural Light

The addition of natural light has been shown to reduce stress and improve overall student achievement and it is one of the top desired modifications among the respondents. Sixty-two percent of teachers would like to see additional natural light as part of desired construction modifications, and only 23% reported having had that modification in a completed construction project.

Teachers thought on Classroom lighting

Classroom teachers want modern, sustainable schools

When taking a high-level look at the considerations for construction and renovation projects, some top considerations concern creating a modern, sustainable school. The top reported consideration among those who work in schools where construction took place was replacing or updating an aging school building and infrastructure (60%). This was also the top consideration among those who believe that construction is needed in their schools (65%). However, the reality is that despite the need, many buildings cannot simply be updated and teachers must make the most of what they have. Solutions providers could suggest making small changes, like keeping windows clear and uncovered to bring in natural light, and school-wide sustainability initiatives that could boost morale.

About this Research and Methodology

State of the K-12 Market 2018: The Impact of Learning Spaces on Student Success, is based on an online survey conducted by MDR, with a nationwide sample of K-12 public school educators. Teachers and librarian/media specialists were sent an email invitation to take the survey and 1,685 completed it. Data collection occurred from May 24 through June 17, 2018. Respondents were asked if their school had undergone a construction or renovation in the past five years, or if their school has a renovation planned in the near future. If neither was the case, they were asked if their school is in need of a renovation. Throughout the report, how the respondents answered this question will be referenced for perspective. Nearly one-fourth of the respondents work in schools planning a renovation, over one-third reported construction took place recently, and nearly two-thirds believe their school needs construction or a renovation in the next five years. This points to the importance teachers place on having modern, updated learning spaces in which to teach. Learn more about MDR Education reports at mdreducation.com

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