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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

It's Not Easy Bein' Green

Living "green" and thinking green and building green and doing green and being green are supposed to save the planet, right?

The National Center for Policy Analysis has a piece by Todd Myers, director of the Center for the Environment at the Washington Policy Center, which looks at the results from schools in Washington state that were built "green."

Supporters of green schools claimed the schools would save 30-50% in energy costs, reduce absenteeism by 10%, and even bring better test scores (perhaps they were too modest to predict Middle East peace as another result).

So is "building green" the wave of the future and the way to save our fragile, human-pillaged planet? Not really.

The results:

- In no case was the green school the most energy-efficient in the district.

- In some cases the green schools were more efficient than the most recently built nongreen school, but the difference between them was often very small.

- In no case were the energy costs for a green school 30 percent less than at comparable schools as supporters had projected.

Apparently the student body was equally unimpressed, since it also didn't do much for absenteeism, either. In three green schools, absenteeism was actually higher than the overall district rate.

The moral of the story: before you spend money for a ticket and jump on the "green" bandwagon, make sure the vehicle is actually going to go somewhere.


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