Nearly 40 percent of the world’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions come from buildings, according to the United Nations Environment Program. As non-renewable resources become more scarce, some school districts are turning away from coal and oil toward alternative sources of energy, such as solar panels.

Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that ‘green’ school buildings can help students better understand the role that humans have in and on the environment.

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'Green' school buildings can serve as 3D textbooks

Laura Zangori, assistant professor in the MU College of Education, and Laura Cole, assistant professor of architectural studies, collaborated with the school district in Columbia, Missouri, to examine the impact of a certified green school building on 37 fifth-grade students. Roughly half of the students were taught in a green school building over the course of the school year while the other half were taught in a neighboring trailer classroom. Both classes conducted similar curricular activities throughout the school year.

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