American public schools redesign buildings to take into account climate

AAmerican schools are the second largest public infrastructure investment. But what many people do not know is that they are among the greatest beneficiaries of the public sector. K-12 schools consume about 8% of the energy used in commercial buildings. They, in turn, produce as much carbon dioxide as 18 coal-fired power plants. This affects not only the environment but also children – students suffer from heat, impaired hormones and sleep cycles as well as respiratory problems.

Competition to zero box

Many schools have begun to rebuild their infrastructure, taking into account climate change. From the installation of additional solar panels to the replacement of old heating, cooling and ventilation systems or HVC systems, they are moving to more affordable, greener alternatives in more sustainable, school districts. But old construction practices and financial constraints can be challenging.

In Maine, a school district is already making drastic changes. State District 24 is building a Charles M. Summer Education Campus that will serve more than 500 students from six to nine. The 103,000-square-foot building will replace the existing 1950s Summer Memorial High School and replace the heat source pumps with power generation ventilation.

The Arkansas Batesville School District recently installed more than 1,500 solar panels, now generating half of the district’s electricity. Prior to the installation, the district spent more than half a million dollars a year on consumer goods. Solar changes are now saving the district more than $ 300,000 a year, which “will continue to be returned to the salaries of our teachers,” said Megan Renihan, the district’s communications coordinator.

Similarly, the Santa Barbara Integrated School District has launched a major initiative with a coordinated initiative of solar micrograde standards in all 18 school locations. One school, San Marcos High School, is located in a gorilla-loaded pocket, in a high-risk area. The solar micro-grid allows the school to operate independently in the event of a grid break and to provide unlimited resistance to critical loads such as food service refrigerators and freezers.

Discovery Elementary School, the largest certified net zero energy school in the United States.
Discovery Elementary School, the largest certified net zero energy school in the United States. Photograph – Allan Carmera

For architects like Tony Hans, who has worked on various zero energy school projects, including the country’s first net zero energy school, the best indicator of how a building will be energy efficient is by evaluating how the design team worked. Past goal.

Hans, national director of Sustainable Projects, said:

“Most contractors, construction managers and architects think it is more cost effective to design a more sustainable and energy efficient school. The truth is, the more research, the more committed team, the more repetition and the focus on those specific goals, ”he said. It requires a symbolic shift. ”

A.D. In 2021, the American Civil Engineers Association gave D + in its report card for American infrastructure. The report says 53% of public school districts need to update or replace various building systems.

“We know that school buildings built between the 1950s and 1970s are among the most problematic schools in the world,” said Anisa Heming, director of the Center for Green Schools at the Green Building Council of the United States.

In addition to asbestos, many schools are built with single-window air conditioners, which often cause extreme heat loss during the winter. In addition, many schools across the country have lead outlets in drinking water that are considered to be the main cause of lead pollution.

When schools struggle with global warming, many do not have the proper cooling systems to continue. When it comes to disruptions in our schools, it is important to be prepared for hot days. He is not just thinking about adding AC individually. “We need to think carefully about how to keep buildings cool,” said Laura Schiffer, senior executive at K12 Climate Action at the Aspen Institute.

Many schools across the country are made of heat-treated asphalt, which increases the heat on the playground and in the community. In an interview with Earth and People’s Magazine, Ricardo Cortes, a kindergarten parent at the Melroz Leadership Academy in East Oakland, described the impact of tropical sports on children.

Discovery Elementary School.
Discovery Elementary School. Photography – Allan Carrame / VMDO Architects

Even after a short vacation, our children would come home from the sun. They had a headache. We are worried about overheating, He said. As a result, some schools, including Melros, have begun to invest in green permanent schools by planting a variety of trees and shrubs.

In addition to heat, poor ventilation is also a serious issue. More than 41% of schools report problems with HIV systems:

There are significant links between air quality and cognitive function among students. Experts have found that it increases CO2 Stages often include attention, sleep, headaches, and asthma in classrooms.

The epidemic exacerbates the need for better ventilation systems. Recommendations include “increased ventilation, better filtration, improved ventilation, or the use of other air purifiers or medical technologies.”

However, despite the recommendations, not all school districts are ready to make the changes. According to a national survey by ASHRAE and the Green Schools Center, the biggest challenge to implementation is that many schools are not designed to support the recommended strategies.

To address the $ 38 billion annual funding gap for these shortcomings, Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed introduced the Rippen and American Schools Act in January. It pledges $ 130 billion to invest in public schools. Similarly, the Biden Administration Bilateral Infrastructure Agreement pledged $ 50 billion and $ 50 billion for school renovations, $ 45 billion for the removal of the country’s leading pipelines, including schools, and $ 20 billion for school buses.

“There are buildings that need to be repaired, so let’s start by replacing the fossil fuel heater with another fossil fuel boiler,” said Lisa Hoyos, director of the National Electoral Strategy of the Conservatives League. To prevent these changes from aggravating climate change, we need to think about what changes are needed in our physical infrastructure.

In addition to reducing emissions and simplifying existing schools, architects and sustainable engineering organizations are designing and building clean zero schools.

Discovery Elementary School.
Discovery Elementary School. Photograph – Allan Carmera

Wick Knox, a architect at VMDO Architects, led the design of Discocover Elementary School, the country’s largest certified net zero energy school, opened in 2015. .

The 97,588-square-foot building has high-temperature, bio-storage facilities that clean and slowly drain all of the water from the site, consisting of 118F (48.8C), low-flow pipe geothermal wells with concrete outside walls. Equipment and 100% LED lighting in excess of energy and water conservation goals set by Arlington Public Schools. The school also has 1,706 roof-mounted solar panels purchased for less than the original budget.

“That big breakthrough was kind of a success [Arlington] The school district said, ‘Why do we go back now because we can see that we can get all the clean energy and then some more energy on the net at the first net price?’ Knox said.

As a result, Knox’s next school project was designing Alice West Fleet Elementary School, the second of three net zero energy schools for Arlington Public Schools. A.D. Completed in 2019, the school features energy-saving features such as the best solar panels. Numerous studies have shown that daylight can increase student performance because natural light regulates melatonin and strengthens circus safety.

Alice West Fleet Elementary School.  Numerous studies have shown that daylight schools increase student performance because natural light regulates melatonin and strengthens circus safety.
Alice West Fleet Elementary School. Numerous studies have shown that daylight can increase student performance because natural light regulates melatonin and strengthens circus safety. Photography – VMDO Architects

In addition to optimized daylight, Alice West Fleet is equipped with high performance HIV systems and small individual heat pump units, only when the right amount of weather is provided and when needed. The air conditioner is created by exchanging heat with the ground through 72 560ft deep wells below the school.

The third Net Zero Energy School, Cardinal Elementary School, will open in September and will show signs of rainwater harvesting to alleviate flooding after the area was hit by a record preacher and a devastating flood.

Cardinal Elementary School.
Cardinal Elementary School. Photography – VMDO Architects

Addressing the challenges surrounding these projects, Wick added, “It’s really about balancing all the competing interests, especially in urban and densely populated areas.”

Many American schools are making permanent transitions, and classrooms are becoming a living laboratory for students as they design classifications based on sustainable motivation to calculate the amount of daylight that a school building saves.

“It’s not just about building more sustainable schools, it’s about developing that kind of sustainable thinking in schools,” said Tony Hans.

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