New Colorado middle school awarded national status for eco-friendly design

Written By: Thatcher Michelsen July 23, 2012 1
The solar panels on the school's roof provide an efficient way to power computers, telephones and other equipment used on a day-to-day basis.
The solar panels on the school's roof provide an efficient way to power computers, telephones and other equipment used on a day-to-day basis.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering the design and creation of energy-efficient buildings, has awarded Casey Middle School of Boulder, Colorado, its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum designation in honor of its new clean-power plan and building model.

"Achieving the platinum status is a thrill and an honor," Casey Middle School Principal Alison Boggs said in a statement. "It gives official recognition to what we already have seen to be true — green building creates an environment in which students and teachers thrive. We've already seen a noticeable drop in absenteeism and misconduct and our enrollment continues to grow."

The $31 million school, finished in July 2010, incorporates a number of technologies to reduce its environmental impact. It was built along the east-west geographical position to capture as much sunlight as possible by a series of solar panels along its roof. According to green construction source Green Building News, in order to reduce the costs of the project, nearly 70 percent of materials in the old school were recycled for use in the new one. Similarly, many of the components were produced within the Boulder region.

Another way that the architects reduced energy expenditure was to create an underground parking facility beneath the school, which cut down on pavement usage on school grounds and freed up green space for the community.

Funding for the project was provided by the Boulder Valley School District, whose $296 million school revitalization bond program was authorized to begin paying for design plans back in 2007. Considerations by the GSGBC LEED committee for the designation included construction costs, energy usage and green technology inclusion.

One Comment »

  1. Susan Cousins August 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    Casey Middle School does not have solar panels on the roof. There is a 26.78 kW array of panels on the south side of the school which will provide approximately 2.5% of the school’s annual electricity usage. The panels also are designed to provide shade for the bicycle parking area. More information about Casey’s green features can be found at: http://www.bvsd.org/bondproject/Documents/Bond%20Final%20Report.pdf#page=40, http://www.bvsd.org/bondproject/schools/Pages/casey.aspx, and http://casey.bvsd.greentouchscreen.com/.

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