Design Principle 3: Be Environmentally Responsible, Clean and Green

Pattern 3.0: Utilize the Learning Environment as an Educational Tool
Look at the potential of the building and environment to be used as a learning textbook. Not only do sustainable green features such as photovoltaic panels, wind generated power, water collection systems, green roofs, and solar chimneys aide in energy and cost conservation, they become excellent teaching tools in the school’s curriculum. By integrating environmental aspects of the building into the program, students understand and observe first hand the principles of ecology and interdependence.

Pattern 3.1: Maximize Daylight and Views into Building
Introduce daylight into all learning spaces. Specifically strive for daylighting in 90% of all classroom spaces and 75% of all other regularly occupied spaces. Daylighting strategies should optimize natural light while avoiding glare, controlling heat gain, and balancing with electric light. Effective use of shading devices and placement of openings and light shelves allows for greater penetration of daylight into the room.

Pattern 3.2: Maximize Use of Natural Ventilation
Natural ventilation strategies should capture prevailing breezes and utilize airflow patterns to circulate fresh air within the building. Use operable windows, solar chimneys, stack effect ventilation shafts, and water placed in front of breezes for natural cooling.

Pattern 3.3: Provide Effective Acoustic Control
Noise monitoring will help to maximize acoustic quality for all students. Environmental acoustics (prediction and isolation of highway, rail, and aircraft noise sources), architectural acoustics (room shaping and surface finishes for good hearing), and psycho-acoustics (speech intelligibility and acoustic privacy) for school classrooms are all essential aspects to control.  Mitigate unwanted poise intrusion and excess reverberation through careful attention to the shape, volume, and materials used in the construction of the school.

Pattern 3.4: Maximize Efficiency in Energy Consumption
Analyze the power consumption of the school’s systems (space heating, cooling, water heating, electricity, etc.) and then make efficiency recommendations based upon a walk through of the school and an energy audit. The school’s heating/ventilating/ air conditioning (HVAC) system should be high efficiency equipment and properly sized for the demand of the facility. The lighting system should use high efficiency lamps and ballasts, optimize the number of light fixtures in each room, incorporate controls to ensure peak system performance, and integrate electric light with daylighting.
Pattern 3.5: Utilize Renewable Energy
Maximize cost-effective use of renewable energy systems (from the earth, wind, water, and sun) to meet school’s energy needs, and to minimize the consumption of fossil fuels. Evaluate and consider energy saved and life cycle cost benefits of passive solar heating, solar hot water, active solar space heating, geothermal heat pumps, natural ventilation, wind-generated electricity, and sunlight-based systems (photovoltaics). 

Pattern 3.6: Maximize Building Envelope Efficiency
Maximize the building shell to be as energy efficient as economically practicable, integrating and optimizing insulation levels, glazing, shading, thermal mass, air leakage, and light-colored exterior surfaces.

Pattern 3.7: Utilize Environmentally Responsible and Renewable Materials
Incorporate materials and products that are durable, non-toxic, high in recycled content, easily recycled, and derived from sustainable processes.  Whenever possible use indigenous materials sourced locally.

Pattern 3.8: Provide for a Child’s Green Thumb
Design spaces to accommodate the ability to grow plants, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. These spaces can include greenhouses, conservatories, green roofs, and outdoor gardens. Provide individualized storage spaces, canning stations, work tables, and information systems in order to further educate the students. Additionally, provide the opportunity to incorporate the community into this learning lab.

Pattern 3.9: Integrate Courtyards as Sustainable Learning Environments
Design school courtyards to act as “living biology labs.” Here students can obtain a hands-on-knowledge of plants, animals, and life skills. Explore strategies that make visible the living systems of flora and fauna to provoke inquiry and understanding among those who learn there. Create a courtyard that produces feelings of comfort, warmth, and sociability while strengthening the school identity and connection to the community.

Pattern 3.10: Practice Environmentally Responsive Site Planning
Orient the building’s classroom areas in a predominantly east west direction to facilitate access to daylight. Preserve existing natural areas of the site, control stormwater runoff, minimize erosion, and capture and utilize rain water where possible. Consider good pedestrian, public transportation, and bicycle access to the site as well as areas of the site that could be used as outdoor learning laboratories. In colder climates, locate entrance walkways and parking to the south or east side of the building to allow for snow melting.