Support for green schools is on the rise, with energy conservation and improved student performance topping the list of reasons Americans believe the country’s public school buildings should be upgraded, a recent independent poll commissioned by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and sponsored by Excel Dryer Inc. reveals.

Results from the nationwide survey, which investigates attitudes toward the quality of U.S. public-school infrastructure and investments in modernization, show eight out of 10 Americans support schools that create a healthy environment conducive to learning while also saving energy, resources, and money.

This is the first time since 2011, the year the survey initially was conducted, energy conservation topped the list. This year, saving energy was on par with improved student performance as the biggest motive for change, followed closely by improved student and faculty health. Additional considerations included reducing environmental impacts, creating jobs, and saving tax dollars.

"These findings confirm that ensuring that all of our children have the opportunity to attend a school that is healthy, safe, and efficient is a priority for Americans,” Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC, said. “Green schools save energy and money and put dollars back into the classrooms where they belong. It’s staggering to note that utility bills are the second-highest operating expense for a school district, second only to teacher salaries, but by implementing energy-efficiency measures, precious tax dollars can be dispersed in a more meaningful way toward a quality education for our children.”

The poll shows 92 percent of Americans across party lines agree the quality of public school buildings should be improved, while nearly two-thirds of Americans feel it is very important to improve public school buildings.

The independent survey of 500 U.S. residents was conducted via telephone Nov. 3-8, 2015, and administered by David Binder Research, a public-opinion research organization specializing in qualitative research.