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February 28, 2006

Cole: New schools should be green

Maya Cole posted an interesting idea on her Web site:

Energy efficiency stands out as one island of excellence in the MMSD. The Wisconsin Focus on Energy program features the Madison school district in one of its case studies on energy-efficient schools.

I'd like to take the MMSD’s excellent energy-efficiency commitment one step further by directing the district to construct any new school or other building with environmentally sensitive practices, including natural lighting, energy efficiency, water conservation, recycled products, and other green building practices.

You can find examples of "green built" schools on the Web site of the U.S. Green Building Council. For example, the Third Creek Elementary School in Statesville, NC lowered electricity demand through energy-efficient equipment and design, including extensive daylighting. The Clearview Elementary School in Hanover, PA reduced water use by 30%. At Clackamas High School, Clackamas, OR "[t]he creation of a high-performance, green building was not considered a primary aim. In fact, at the time, there was little interest in sustainable design. However, energy efficiency, high-quality indoor environments, environmental responsibility, and resource efficiency became integral to meeting the school district's established goals," according to the Web site of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Best of all, healthy school buildings can be built for the same (or less) than a conventional school building and operated at a savings. For example, "the low-energy design of Clackamas High School will save the school district $69,000 per year in energy costs." The construction cost of $117 per square foot was "significantly lower than that of a typical high school, which averages $135 to $145 per square foot."

Posted by Ed Blume at February 28, 2006 6:58 AM
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