Sustainable Schools, Better Teaching, Better Learning

Bosses are finding employees work better in sustainable, healthy buildings and the same is found for students of sustainable schools.

The Green Building Council of Australia chief operating officer Robin Mellon said she believed that investment in quality learning environments was as essential as investment in quality teaching and resources.

Sourceable reported that studies on green schools found that there was a 25 per cent improvement on test scores and a 41 per cent improvement in health can be achieved by providing good lighting and ventilation.

They also found students who have plenty of daylight in their classrooms progress 26 per cent faster in reading and 20 per cent faster in maths and a student’s academic progress could be affected by up to 25 per cent by the classroom environment.

The UK’s University of Salford and Nightingale Architects released research this year that showed a student’s academic achievement could be affected by up to 25 per cent by their classroom environment.

Sustainable schools also give students a hands-on approach to green living, with school gardens, which deepens their understanding of what they are taught.

A better work environment also means teachers have a better place to teach, with studies showing better workplaces attract better workers.


Green Answers in the Past

US architect, professor and researcher on urban waterfronts and water supply Kevin Bone claims architecture and the future of the planet are inextricably linked and we may find our answers in what has gone before us.

Speaking to ArtInfo’s Kelly Chan, he said the past had more to offer the future than we may think.

His current exhibition of modern architecture in the US, looks at modern architecture and said he wanted to break the stereotype that it was an environmentally disruptive style of building.

Professor Bone said, through his exhibition, he wanted to show that great architects were very attuned to the cycles of nature and green architecture was something that had to be at the very beginning of an architectural idea.

He also warned architectural students and architects that they needed to be in tune with nature, with a building’s site and its relationship to the sun most important to the success of the building as a sustainable product that reduced the need for energy and fuel use.

He uses the Frank Lloyd Wright Solar Hemicycle in Wisconsin as an example of a passive solar heating building.

Professor Bone said that builders using locally-sourced materials and local craftsmen were also thinking of the environment during the construction of their projects, using the example of Antonin Raymond who worked on the Imperial Hotel in Japan with Frank Lloyd Wright, and Professor Bone said these structures showed “a sense of the local”.