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Eco-Friendly Schools - One Singular Directory:

Ecological Design and Building Schools

By: Arthur Young - Tuesday, February 7, 2006
Source: Reviewer

This new book from Village Press, the publishing arm of ADPSR, is a comprehensive, illustrated guide to educational opportunities in the US and Canada. It features an annotated listing of "green" building design and construction classes, and programs from schools and educational centers (continuing ed, professional; non-professional; and formal higher education).

The book includes a 20-year overview of sustainable design educational initiatives, comparative tables of school programs, and selected listings of curriculum resources, related organizations, textbooks, and bios of individual instructors.

Author Sandra Leibowitz Earley is a LEED®-accredited profession and founder of Sustainable Design Consulting, based in two mid-Atlantic states offices. Ms. Earley has authored and co-authored several green building documents and articles, including the HOK Sustainable Design Guide, GreenSpec and the US Green Building Council Toolkit for State and Local Government. Ecological Design and Building Schools substantially updates and expands her 1996 publication, Eco-Building Schools. Contact:

What Ecological Design and Building Schools does goes beyond Design Intelligence’ Best Architecture and Design Schools (
or the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture
 to focus on specific programs with values deep into sustainable design, green building and ecology as a system, plugging the hole in what’s was missing educationally that, in part, inspired the founding of the USGBC.

(Ednote: Patronizing your local owner-builder bookstore or environmental organization keeps the economy flowing more sustainably, but why preach to the choir?)

You might also want to check out:
AIA-Cote Ecological Literacy in Architecture competition ( and Second Nature’s profiles on curriculum change, greening the campus, institutional transformation and sustainability research

And we await The Society for Building Teacher Educators’ list of required building science courses & electives, curriculum and course materials, at North American architecture school’s. It’s “coming soon” sign we look forward to seeing taken down. (Contact:

One eco-friendly school district case study:
Eco-friendly school design costs more, but reduces energy bills

In the arena of high performance schools, Chapel Hill-Carrboro is undoubtedly ahead of the game. Smith Middle opened in 2001. Durham's Creekside Elementary School, opened in January 2005, has enormous windows that allow sun to light the building instead of bulbs. Orange County's new middle school, slated to open next August, will have daylighting and solar panels, similar to Smith Middle.

What's unique about Chapel Hill-Carrboro is the school board's policy, dating from 2000: district officials are required to include every possible green feature in new schools--reduce the use of water, conserve natural resources, limit excessive noise and provide high-efficiency lighting, heating and cooling. Much of the reason is cost.

Steve Scroggs, the school district's assistant superintendent for support services. estimates that the new high school's features added an extra $1 million to the project. But, Scroggs said, using less energy saves money in the long run.

The Smith School saves the district about $76,000 a year in energy costs. It consumes more than 50,000 fewer British thermal units per year than each of the three other middle schools in the district.

"On most days, you shouldn't have to have the lights turned on at all," said principal Valerie Reinhardt. "Most of the (skylights) are facing south, so you get good, strong daylight."

Smith's sloped ceilings are lined with windows, housed in triangular-shaped roof monitors to provide daylight to classrooms and offices. Fabric "baffles" lining the windows can be closed if a room gets too bright. Solar panels on the roof provide some energy used to heat water and power lights and equipment.

The school also has a rainwater collection tank out back, from which water is obtained to flush toilets and irrigate fields. Shortly after the school was built, Scroggs said, a U.S. Department of Energy official visited, and remarked it was the "most energy-efficient school in the nation."

With light-colored walls and ceilings to diffuse sun throughout the building, the school has made environmental awareness something of a theme. Students monitor energy use and embark on recycling projects. "It's just become part of the curriculum," she noted. "The students learn - and know - about it."

The school has been cited in national magazines, and used as an example of high-efficiency building. In 2004, the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic University in upstate New York used it for a case study in energy efficiency.
The school, designed by the Chapel Hill architectural firm Corley, Redfoot and Zack, has become the model for the Orange County Schools' third middle school, being built in Efland.

Rashkis Elementary has a mezzanine above the classrooms with boxes to monitor the heat and cold in each room, keeping them at optimum temperature. The school, in the Meadowmont subdivision, has the rainwater tank, daylighting and photovoltaic panels, but also has motion sensors in classrooms that turn off lights automatically. "My school is built to save," said principal Deshera Mack.

Sound buffers keep noise from the cafeteria from filtering through the building. The limestone-colored roof reflects the sun's heat off the building, and solar panels heat water for dishwashing and food preparation. The highly slanted roof allows for more rain runoff, to be collected for toilets and field irrigation, and also allows room for the mezzanine.

Building high-efficiency facilities - for school, business and other uses - has grown 37% since last year, according to the USGBC.

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Ecological Design and Building Schools: Green Guide to Educational Opportunities in the United Stat