New Nationwide Independent Poll from U.S. Green Building Council and United Technologies Corp. Reveals Majority of Americans Support Federal Investment in “Green” Schools

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One in Three Americans Say U.S. Schools in “Poor Shape”

Americans understand the importance of our nation’s school infrastructure and see the urgent need for significant investments

A new independent nationwide survey reveals that nearly three out of four Americans support federal investment in school building improvements focused on creating healthier learning environments, saving tax dollars or lowering carbon emissions. The survey, sponsored by United Technologies Corp. and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools, found that one in three of those surveyed said the majority of U.S. schools are in “poor” shape. Only six percent said U.S. schools are in “excellent” shape.

The independent survey of more than 1,000 Americans was conducted via telephone from Sept.23 – 25, 2011, by GfK Custom Research North America.

"Americans understand the importance of our nation’s school infrastructure and see the urgent need for significant investments," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “Too many of our schools are outdated, woefully energy inefficient, unhealthy and negatively affect our children’s ability to learn – and ultimately to compete in a global marketplace. In 2008 alone the U.S. deferred an estimated $254 billion in school facility maintenance(1) and inadequate investment into maintaining our nation’s school infrastructure has led to a significant number of schools in need of major repair and replacement. That’s unacceptable.”

The U.S. Government Accountability Office reports that at least 25,000 U.S. schools are in need of extensive repair and replacement.(2)

“These survey results demonstrate that the majority of Americans believe that maintaining our existing outdated, inefficient and wasteful school infrastructure simply isn’t good enough – which is why the Center for Green Schools is driving the green schools moment,” said Fedrizzi.

On average, green schools save $100,000 per year on operating costs — enough to hire at least one new teacher, buy 200 new computers, or purchase 5,000 textbooks.(3) Green schools use 33 percent less energy and 32 percent less water than conventionally constructed schools, significantly reducing utility costs.(4) If all new U.S. school construction and renovation went green today, the total energy savings alone would be $20 billion over the next 10 years. (5)

Additionally, a single green school can reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 585,000 pounds annually (6) and, in a survey of green school administrators, 70 percent reported that green school construction reduced student absenteeism and improved student performance. (7)

“A green school is an energy efficient school – meaning less money is spent on overhead like heating and cooling and more can be spent on keeping teachers in the classroom and getting them the resources they need,” said Sandy Diehl, Vice President, Integrated Buildings Solutions, United Technologies Corp., and a Center for Green Schools advisory board member. “Investments in green school buildings generate positive outcomes in classrooms and communities everywhere. Investing in our school infrastructure today is an imperative.”

The Center for Green Schools was launched in 2010 by the U.S. Green Building Council with United Technologies Corp. as the founding sponsor. The Center’s goal is to drive change in how we design, construct and operate our schools so they will generate savings through improved energy efficiency and enhance student learning experiences in K-12 and higher education settings.

About U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 79 local chapters, nearly 16,000 member organizations, and more than 170,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. GDP from 2009-2013. USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students. For more information, visit, on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
About the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council

The Center for Green Schools at is how USGBC is making sure every student has the opportunity to attend a green school within this generation. From the kindergartner entering the classroom, to the Ph.D. student performing researching in a lab, the Center provides the resources and support to elevate dialogue, accelerate policy and institute innovation toward green schools and campuses. High-performing schools result in high-performing students, and the Center works directly with staff, teachers, faculty, students, administrators, elected officials and communities to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable places to live and learn, work and play.

United Technologies Corp. based in Hartford, Connecticut, is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries. UTC’s products include Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines, Sikorsky helicopters, Carrier heating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems, Hamilton Sundstrand aerospace systems and industrial products, Otis elevators and escalators, UTC Fire & Security systems and UTC Power fuel cells. More information can be found at and at

About GfK Custom Research North America
Headquartered in New York, GfK Custom Research North America is part of the GfK Group. The GfK Group offers the fundamental knowledge that industry, retailers, services companies and the media need to make market decisions. It delivers a comprehensive range of information and consultancy services in the three business sectors Custom Research, Retail and Technology and Media. The No. 4 market research organization worldwide operates in more than 100 countries and employs over 11,000 staff. In 2010, the GfK Group’s sales amounted to EUR 1.29 billion. For more information visit Follow us at or on Twitter @gfkamerica.


(1)Bello, Mustapha A. and Loftness, Vivian. Addressing Inadequate Investment in School Facility Maintenance (2010). School of Architecture. Paper 50. Available at:
(2)“School Facilities: Condition of America’s Schools”, United States General Accounting Office, 1995. Available at:
(3)Kats, Gregory, et al. Greening America’s Schools: costs and benefits, Capital E, 2006. Available at:
(7)“2005 Survey of Green Buildings,” Turner Construction. Available at:

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