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Oct 102011

From Green Right Now Reports

Two surveys released last week show that Americans are still thinking green, even amid an economy that’s left them with less of it in their wallets.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans support investing federal money in energy efficient school improvements, according to a survey of 1,000 Americans in late September by GfK Custom Research.

The survey, sponsored by United Technologies Corp. and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools, also found that about one-third of Americans considered U.S. schools to be in “poor shape”.

These results suggest taxpayers likely would approve of the $25 billion green schools program contained within Obama’s proposed American Jobs Act. The plan would provide school districts money for energy and structural improvements that would save them electricity costs and free up money for teachers or supplies.

On average, green schools save $100,000 per year on operating costs – enough to hire at least one new teacher, buy 200 new computers, or purchase 5,000 textbooks, according to the USGBC.

The non-profit USGBC, which certifies green schools and other types of buildings, also reports that green schools use 33 percent less energy and 32 percent less water than conventionally constructed schools.

“These survey results demonstrate that the majority of Americans believe that maintaining our existing outdated, inefficient and wasteful school infrastructure simply isn’t good enough,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO of the USGBC.

“A green school is an energy efficient school – meaning less money is spent on overhead like heating and cooling and more can be spent on keeping teachers in the classroom and getting them the resources they need,” said Sandy Diehl, Vice President, Integrated Buildings Solutions, United Technologies Corp., and a Center for Green Schools advisory board member. “Investments in green school buildings generate positive outcomes in classrooms and communities everywhere. Investing in our school infrastructure today is an imperative.” (To see a sampling of existing green schools check out our earlier story.)

Americans practice more green actions and say they understand more about environmentally friendly actions.

Another recent survey of Americans by DfK shows that their knowledge of environmental issues is growing. It also found that a majority of Americans want to take actions that are positive for the environment and think that companies should too.

The survey on behalf of SC Johnson company compared viewpoints from environmental surveys done over the past 20 years to today. Its online inquiry of 2,000 adults found that:

  •  In 2011, Americans are less likely to be confused over what is good and bad for the environment. About seven in 10 now say they know a lot or a fair amount about environmental issues and problems, up from about five in 10 during the mid-1990’s.
  • 58 percent of Americans, about twice as many as 20 years ago, say they recycle on a regular basis.
  • 29% say they buy green products and 18 percent say they commute in an environmentally friendly way — both percentages are up from past surveys.
  • The number of Americans who list economic security as their top worry — 41 percent — is up since before 2007, when it was 28 percent.
  • The bottomline also drives green behavior, according to respondents, who reported that costs and incentives for green actions mattered far more than influence from friends and family.
  • Economic worries, however, did not translate into a feeling that the environment should receive reduced consideration. A significant majority respondents said that it would be good for business if companies went “green.” Specifically, 74 percent agreed with the statement: “A manufacturer that reduces the
    environmental impact of its production process and products is making a smart business decision.”

More results can be found at the website for the survey The Environment, Public Attitudes and Individual Behavior: A 20-year Evolution.