When progressives were building the public school system, they intended to create a system that would dominate both the education market and the local community. (I sat through lectures about this stuff in school). In the ProtoPhoto project, I walked through towns in the Mountain West photographing things.
In most communities, you will find that the public school is the largest building, and was built in ways to dominate the neighborhood. The schools being built in the last several years are even larger. The massive Ecker Hill Junior High on the way to Park City is a case in point. That thing is massive!
Private schools are general built by people with limited funds and are often unassuming and set back. Private schools must optimize their limited resources to compete. You will often find private schools in old public school buildings … with the new public school being substantially larger than the private school.
The sites opposed to Byrne's 65% rule cited the high cost of maintenance of public school buildings as a primary reason that they can't spend more on the classroom. They fail to state that the massive waste of natural resources occurs for political reasons. Progressives wanted public schools that dominated the community.
It makes sense that private schools would use resources better than public schools. The product they sell is education, and they compete on how well the deliver education. As such they will focus their resources on the product delivered.
(Of course, private schools that sell pretention are likely to waste resources. The private schools attended by the middle class tend to focus on education.)
Now, in my opinion, environmentalism should be about optimizing the return on resources. That means we must judge each action we take and figure out how to achieve our goals with the least consumption of resources.
I find it amusing when public school teachers bubble with green rhetoric on the environmental evils of free enterprise from pulpits in buildings designed to dominate the landscape.
It is educational to go to a middle class community and compare the resource consumption of private to public schools. When I go to middle class communities, I see massive public structures designed to dominate and smaller private schools focused on learning (and usually doing a better job).
I look at this phenomena and can't help but conclude that socialism does not green the economy, it simply waste resources as the political class seeks to dominate the people.