A shift in the green schools movement has been taking place: from focusing on the spectacular new buildings with innovative high performance features seen profiled in the greater media to a sobering awareness of the much larger number of existing school facilities in critical need of improvement.
In the US, students attend school in some 133,000 existing schools, and each one of those schools faces its own facilities challenges. These schools present the greatest opportunity to affect the most change: it is in these schools where most students attend school, where most of the energy is consumed, where the air and acoustic quality is poorest and where the funding is most out of proportion to actual need. The 2009 Report Card for American Infrastructure gives schools a ‘D’ grade, lower than bridges. The National Education Association’s estimate for maintenance improvements alone is $322 billion.