Optimize Learning Outcomes

Livable Building Award (02-12-21)

The Center for the Built Environment at the University of California, Berkeley has presented its 2020 Livable Building Award to the renovation and expansion of Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco.   The award “recognizes buildings that demonstrate ‘livability’ in terms of occupant satisfaction, sustainability and architectural design. . . . .The award jury, consisting of CBE industry partners, commended the design of the school in terms of its openness to the community, its layered access to views and daylight, and also that the design addressed equity, carbon and resilience. . .

Air Pollution and Mental Performance (12-01-20)

Research completed by a Mullen-lead team not only confirms the value of air outside being fresh, but also the advantages of air brought into buildings being “scrubbed.”  The investigators report that  “Fine particulate air pollution is harmful to children in myriad ways. While evidence is mounting that chronic exposures are associated with reduced academic proficiency, no research has examined the frequency of peak exposures. . . .

Trees and Academic Success (11-19-20)

Research confirms that trees do indeed add value to our lives.  Kuo, Klein, Browning, and Zaplatosch collected data for 450 schools and 50,000 students in communities ranging from rural to urban in Washington State and report that “‘Hundreds of studies show a positive link between contact with nature and learning outcomes. . . . We wanted to make sure the same pattern was true in this vulnerable and overlooked population,’ says Ming Kuo. . .

Classroom Conditions and Student Achievement (10-23-20)

Brink and colleagues evaluated links between college/university classroom conditions and student performance.  They report that their literature review determined that  “Warm white light provides a relaxing environment and supports communication, and should gradually change to blue-enriched white light after its prolonged use during the morning to prevent drowsiness. . . . these different correlated color temperatures imitates the natural change of daylight during the day and therefore supports teachers' and students' circadian rhythm.. . .

Nature IN Classrooms (10-16-20)

Van den Bogerd and colleagues studied the effects of having plants in a university and secondary school classrooms.  They report that after students attended one lecture in a classroom with plants in it that “Perceived environmental quality of classrooms with (rather than without) indoor nature was consistently rated more favourably. Secondary education students also reported greater attention, lecture evaluation, and teacher evaluation after one lecture in classrooms with indoor nature compared to the classroom without.”

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