The role of physical environment on student health and education in green schools

Selen Okcu, Erica Ryherd, Charlene Bayer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The role of physical school environment on student health and education is becoming better understood. A growing body of literature indicates that improved physical environments in schools (e.g., indoor air quality, lighting, and acoustic conditions) can enhance student health outcomes. In parallel, the green building movement centers around designing buildings, including schools, that are more sustainable to decrease energy consumption, minimize environmental impact, and create healthier spaces for occupants. This paper synthesizes the findings from both green design studies and school outcomes studies to provide a systematic evaluation of the potential impacts of green school design features on student health outcomes. Three inter-related topics are covered in detail: (i) overview of the "green" concept, including existing guidelines for "greening" schools, attitudes toward green schools, and condition of the physical environments in non-green schools; (ii) potential effects of the physical environment on school children, including documentation of national statistics and summary of findings from school research studies; (iii) synthesis of findings, including a discussion of the knowledge gaps in the field of green school research and conclusions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-179
Number of pages11
JournalReviews on Environmental Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Green schools
  • high performance buildings
  • student outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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