The Texas Gulf Coast Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council presented HISD with its Green Pioneer Award on Thursday in recognition of the district’s “unwavering dedication to building sustainable schools for generations.”
The award was accepted at an evening ceremony by Board of Education Trustees Paula Harris and Harvin Moore.
“Your commitment to assuring that where children learn is as important as what children learn and who they learn it from is a testament to your understanding that the learning environment must be holistic,” said David Ronn, chair of the U.S. Green BuildingCouncil’s Texas Gulf Coast Chapter. “You should be proud of your leadership in this area.”
Click here to see a video featuring HISD’s green building efforts.
For years, HISD has committed to building all of its new facilities to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) standards, which were developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to provide builders a framework and standards for green building. HISD has made the same green-building commitment for new schools that would be built under the bond proposition that is on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. Click here for more information about the 2012 HISD bond proposition.
The district was cited as having the second-largest amount of LEED-registered schools across the nation, according to the Gulf Coast Chapter. Building schools to high environmental standards not only saves the district money with reduced-energy usage, but the buildings and various environmentally sound designs are being incorporated into students’ education.
“For us, this is about more than just earning a certificate to hang on the wall. It’s about showing our children that we are committed to responsible building practices that preserve resources for generations to come,” Trustee Harris said.
Trustee Moore pointed out that building environmentally responsible schools makes good financial sense. HISD’s current building program is coming in under budget, and that utility costs are down compared to older schools.
“In HISD, we have learned that going Green doesn’t just preserve the environment. It’s also a sound fiscal strategy,” Trustee Moore said.
Berry Elementary, one of the newest schools in HISD, is projected to have a 38 percent reduction in water usage and nearly 25 percent reduction in energy usage. In addition, the environmental science magnet school uses collected rainwater to irrigate the lawns and gardens on the grounds.
All new schools in HISD are also built with priority on natural lighting, reducing energy usage.
The district’s newest high school, Carnegie Vanguard, features a green roof designed to reduce energy costs and serve as an outdoor learning laboratory. CVHS, as do other schools in the district, also features rooms designed for multiple purposes in an effort to reduce building footprints and save energy.
HISD currently has 10 schools with LEED certification with an additional 20 in the process of receiving certification.