To call school important is a serious understatement. It’s where roughly a quarter of all Americans spend their days. It’s a place to mold minds and shape behaviors, which makes it the ideal place to not only raise awareness about energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, but to implement practices that can become habits and create the next generation of sustainability leaders.
That is precisely why the Center for Green Schools' Green Apple Day of Service is so important to United Technologies. As a founding sponsor of the Center, we’re invested in the mission of putting every student in a green school within this generation. We understand the benefits that goal could achieve. This isn’t about efficiencies gained at the bricks and mortar level, it’s about our students and teachers and their health and productivity.
A study in Denmark found the average performance of schoolwork improved by 8 to 14 percent simply by doubling the outdoor air supply rate. The same study found another 2 to 4 percent learning improvement just by lowering classroom temperatures by 2 degrees during hot seasons. Together at the high end of the range, that’s nearly a 20 percent improvement in performance. One made possible by green schools. Green schools aren’t only a capital investment—more importantly they are a human investment.
Getting there, though, is a two-stage process. Modernizing our schools to improve ventilation and increase access to daylight is absolutely critical. Equally as critical is education. We need to make sure that all-important link between health and buildings isn’t missed. A recent study by McGraw-Hill found a only third of family doctors and general practitioners believe that buildings even impact human health.
That brings us back to our schools. What better place to start making that building-health connection? Small lessons and learnings can result in significant actions and measurable results. Here at United Technologies, our employees are proud to volunteer in Green Apple Day of Service events in the U.S., China and India. Whether it’s constructing sustainable landscaping beds, installing rain barrels or creating artwork to raise awareness, we’re getting kids thinking about sustainability.
This is UTC’s third year to participate in the Green Apple Day of Service—a fact that we’re excited about. Our 20 events this year reached thousands of students, building on our work last year and the year before.
Now multiply that effort and think about what we can accomplish as a broader group. Together, all of us—and last year there were more than 200,000 of us—are planting deep sustainability roots. We’re reaching millions of students and raising millions of dollars to turn thinking into doing, and doing into learning in healthier, more productive environments.
So, let’s polish up those green apples and keep the momentum from this year’s Green Apple Day of Service going. Our schools are ripe with potential and so are the 700 million children who spend their days there.