Absenteeism, Performance and Occupant Satisfaction with the Indoor Environment of Green Toronto Schools.

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This study aimed to compare a number of quantitative and qualitative aspects of usage across a sample of 10 conventional, 20 energy-retrofitted and three green Toronto schools. Student, teacher and staff absenteeism data, as well as Grade 3 and 6 student performance data on reading, writing and arithmetic tests administered by Ontario's Education Quality and Accountability Office were collected. A survey of 150 teachers was conducted to investigate their satisfaction with the indoor air quality, lighting, thermal comfort and acoustics of their school buildings. The statistical analysis of the data showed that teachers in green schools were in general more satisfied with their classrooms and personal workspaces' lighting, thermal comfort, indoor air quality, heating, ventilation and air conditioning than teachers in the other schools. Nevertheless, they were less satisfied with acoustics. Student, teacher and staff absenteeism in green schools also improved by 2–7.5%, whereas student performance improved by 8–19% when compared with conventional schools. However, these improvements were not statistically significant and could not therefore be generalised to all Toronto public schools. Whether these marginal improvements justify the extra cost premium of green buildings remains an active contentious topic that will need further investigation. [Authors' abstract]
Issa, Mohamed; Attalla, Mohamed; Rankin, Jeff; Christian, A. John
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