There has been an influx in green schools news over the past few weeks and I’m wondering, perhaps even hoping, that this is going to be a new green building trend. I know that green schools have existed for quite some time but I’d love to see districts make a focused effort on green building. Here is a quick overview of a few stories I’ve read over the past couple of weeks on green schools here in the United States.
ZETA Communities launches new school product
ZETA Communities is an offsite precision-building company that creates energy efficient buildings, including net zero energy (NZE) buildings, for a variety of needs. The company recently announced that it has expanded its offerings to include school structures. That’s right, ultra energy efficient or net zero energy schools may be coming to a city near you. The company has already completed one school building in California and is working on two others.
ZETA’s first energy efficient school structure is a three-building 4,000 square foot project for the Davis Waldorf School in Davis, California. The building, which features dual flush toilets, a Cool Roof, natural lighting and more, was completed in just four weeks.
The company is also working on a 2,400 square-foot Child Development Center for the Santa Cruz, California Live Oak School District and a 960 square-foot classroom design for Tierra Pacifica Charter School, also in Santa Cruz.
Solar panels for Albert M. Greenfield School in Philadelphia
Albert M. Greenfield School is the first school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to be equipped with a solar panel system. Mercury Solar Systems, Inc installed the schools 5.33 kW solar energy system, which consists of 26 solar panels capable of producing 6,400 kWh of energy annually.
The solar installation is part of the Greening Greenfield pilot project initiated by the Greenfield School and the Philadelphia School District. The project not only focuses on creating a more eco-friendly learning environment for children but also focuses on helping teach children about the Earth and environmental issues.
The school is already equipped with a roof-mounted weather station, a storm water management system, indigenous woodland rain forest gardens, an agriculture zone garden and a permeable recycled play surface.
West Virginia primary school eyes LEED Gold
Spring Mills Primary School in Berkeley County, West Virginia is nearly 75 percent complete. As the school nears completion, administrators are eyeing LEED Gold certification. Once completed, Spring Mills Primary School will be the first green school in Berkeley County.
Although school district officials are aiming for LEED Gold certification, the school already has enough credits to qualify for a LEED Silver certification. The school should be completed in the spring, barring any unforeseen weather delays, and then the district will know whether they have enough credits for LEED Gold certification.
The Center for Green Schools
Just a few short weeks ago the U.S. Green Building Council kicked off The Center for Green Schools initiative. Although I covered the program launch in a separate post, it is worth mentioning again here.
The initiative was created to help educators, school boards, district administration and others involved in the school building decision process about the importance of green building measures in the school environment. The program is aimed at K-12 schools in lower income areas, community colleges and under-resourced schools.