The LEED for Schools Rating System recognizes the unique nature of the design and construction of K-12 schools. Just to clarify, LEED stands for: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Schools is the recognized third-party benchmark for high-performance schools that are healthy for students, comfortable for teachers, and cost-effective for budgets.
Studies have shown that students learn better in a quiet, comfortable, and properly lit environment. Because of this and many other factors, greening our schools has become a high priority.
LEED is not meant to be used as the only measure in determining whether a project is green, and in order to achieve green goals it is essential that design teams (including owners and contractors) take an integrative approach and view the project as a whole.
Using an integrated design approach, LEED promotes improved practices in:
- Site selection and development
- Water and energy use
- Environmentally preferred materials, finishes, and furnishings
- Waste stream management
- Indoor air quality and occupant comfort
- Innovation in sustainable design and construction
Bruner is currently working with Dublin City Schools in an effort to promote LEED for schools–check out our project page for more information. With this project alone, Bruner has been recognized by AEP Ohio for our “commitment to energy efficiency and the environment”. As a result of our collaboration, Dublin City Schools will reduce energy use by 739,410 kWh per year and reduce CO2 emissions by 632.8 tons, which equals as many as 100 cars off the road per year! Consider LEED for your school, and contact Bruner to find out what we can do to help.
Early this week, Hilliard City Schools was presented with a rebate check in the amount of $111,622.42 from AEP Ohio’s Business Incentives program following an energy conservation program in conjunction with Bruner that began in early 2011.
The Hilliard City Schools project included the following energy efficiency measures:
- 40-ton chiller replacement at Scioto Darby Elementary
- T8 high-output, high bay lighting retrofits in 22 gymnasiums across the district
- Occupancy lighting sensors in all gyms and some cafeterias
- Parking lot lighting retrofit to inductive lamps
The projects represent an annual electricity savings of 728,000 kilowatts per year and an annual cost savings of $58,242.64.
To date, Hilliard has received the largest rebate check of any school district in Ohio. Following closely behind was Dublin City Schools, another project Bruner was fortunate enough to be part of, with more than $90,500.
To get started with an energy conservation program for your district or organization, contact Eric Kuns, VP of the Solutions Group, at (614) 334-9000.
As you can see, the benefits are clear.
Did you know that in 2006, Energy Star reported that K-12 schools in the US spend more than $7.5 billion annually on energy? Energy costs are the largest operating expense for K-12 school districts after salaries and benefits. The good news is that taking measures to improve decrease energy usage can not only be done without negatively affecting classroom instruction, but it may even lead to a more ideal learning environment for students, as well as extensive cost savings.
There are several aspects of building performance that prove to be crucial in providing an environment conducive to learning. “Research has shown that a relationship between facility conditions and absenteeism, teacher turnover rates, and occupant health,” Energy Star reports. Fortunately, many aspects of an energy conservation program can improve the following factors, while cutting energy costs.
- Student safety and security can be improved with proper exterior lighting and adequate lighting in hallways and stairwells.
- It is also important to keep in mind that natural daylight has been shown to enhance learning and so should be utilized wherever possible without negatively affecting other important aspects of lighting design. Visual comfort depends on having an adequate amount of evenly distributed illumination. “Daylighting in Schools: Reanalysis Report,” a major study conducted in 2003 by the Heschong Mahone Group, found that on average daylighting improves learning by 21 percent.
- Indoor air quality can be bettered with ventilation as well as by removing the source of pollutants. High concentrations of these pollutants, like carbon dioxide (CO2), have been correlated with sickness and poor academic test performance.
- The temperature of educational facilities also has an impact on student performance. Cold temperatures reduce dexterity, whereas warm temperatures reduce alertness. Temperatures that fluctuate frequently and widely can hinder children’s ability to focus.
- Noise from outside the building, interior hallways, and building systems (such as fans, boilers, and compressors) can be a significant distraction to students. Being able to hear properly is important because up to 60 percent of classroom activities involve spoken communication.
For more information, visit www.energystar.gov.