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Sustainability in the Classroom

Sustainability in the Classroom

Posted In // Design Tips

The issue of sustainability has become increasingly important in business, and the same is true in education. What steps can you take to create a more environmentally friendly classroom?

Most people concerned with sustainability

Environmental sustainability is a deep concern of many people. That’s actually true worldwide, with marketers increasingly aware that it impacts the way people shop. According to Nielsen, 55% of consumers in 60 nations will pay a greater price for a product that has a sustainability claim on its packaging.

The issue of sustainability is incredibly complex, but often all it takes is a few simple steps. Here are four categories in which you can build a greener classroom.

Lessons

First, if you are teaching young children, make sure they understand how they can help. For instance, you can teach them that it saves energy to turn off unnecessary lights and keep doors shut so that heat doesn’t escape. You can also work with them on recycling, explains Cameron Rosen of sustainable building consultant Australian Living.

“Children are then introduced to different materials and smells, understanding the difference between natural and non-natural products,” he says. “Schools then introduce environmentally considerate items such as recycled paper and wooden toys to work with.”

Technology

Here are four basic ways that you can better gear your technological use toward sustainability, according to the nonprofit Rainforest Alliance:

1. Instead of relying on screensavers, switch unused computers into sleep mode (60-70% energy reduction).

2. Use power strips, and turn them off before leaving the classroom (40% reduction).

3. Give students access to syllabi and other handouts online.

4. Accept tests and research papers through the Internet as well.

Plants

School gardens are becoming more popular nationwide, but you don’t always see plants in the classroom.

The lack of plants inside “is unfortunate as it’s known as one of the key factors in creating healthy environments which are naturally filtered and refreshed with healthy oxygen,” notes Rosen.

According to research from the University of Technology Sydney, the addition of four potted plants to a classroom improved scores in spelling, math, and science 11-12% while cutting absenteeism by 23%. Similarly, bringing in six hanging plants cut carbon dioxide 45% in a Portuguese study.

Furniture & flooring

The school can invest in furniture that is non-toxic and biodegradable. A great way to do flooring is with carpet squares that have environmentally friendly certifications. Squares are a particularly strong choice because you can individually replace any portions that become damaged.

Are you in need of furniture and design expertise? At Beaux Arts Group, we provide answers to complex school challenges such as ergonomics, technology, generational differences, and sustainability. Learn more.