A few months ago, in my two part piece on why green schools matter (Why Do Green Schools Matter? Part 1 and Why Do Green Schools Matter? Part 2), I talked about London Middle School, which was completed this past Fall and was then in the process of pursuing LEED Platinum certification. I am very excited to announce that London Middle School earned that LEED Platinum status today, becoming the first LEED Platinum K-12 school in the state of Ohio! I’ve already covered many of the stories from London in the previously mentioned green school series, so I have decided to simply include the official press release (witty quotes by moi included) word by word below. Many thanks to our incredible project team that made this all possible!
SHP Leading Design Press Release:
SHP Designs Ohio’s First LEED-Certified Platinum School
London Middle School achieves USGBC’s highest sustainability rating
(Cincinnati, Ohio) – SHP Leading Design is pleased to announce that London Middle School in the London City School District is the first LEED Platinum school in Ohio. LEED is the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) rating system for sustainable building design and construction.
“This is undoubtedly one of the most exciting LEED projects SHP has ever been a part of,” said Allison McKenzie, AIA, LEED AP, SHP’s director of sustainability. “The new middle school marks our first LEED Platinum project and proves that lofty sustainability goals are achievable within a tight budget.”
LEED is a comprehensive rating system that focuses on multiple attributes of sustainable design including energy and water efficiency, sustainable site development, material selection, and indoor environmental quality. The USGBC established LEED for market leaders to design and construct buildings that protect and save precious resources while also making good economic sense.
Located on a campus setting, the new middle school is 75,000 square feet, houses 500 students, and had a construction budget of $13.3 million.
“We had a very strict budget set by the Ohio School Facilities Commission,” said Eric Steva, AIA, LEED AP, project manager at SHP. “It’s important to mention that the project was completed without any outside grants, locally funded initiatives, or funding sources.”
“The building reflects what’s important to the school district,” McKenzie added. “We didn’t seek out trendy sustainable design solutions or ‘eco-bling.’ We integrated sustainable design strategies that had real, positive effects on the school.”
The school boasts a geothermal heating and cooling system, 20 solar tubes and light baffles for daylighting, and 20 acres of prairie grass for restoring habitat. In addition, 37 percent of the materials were regional and 25 percent were made from recycled material. The cost saving compared to baselines standards include 42 percent energy saving and 40 percent reduction in water usage. Moreover, a 71.2 kW solar array generates more than 15 percent of the school’s yearly energy needs.
“On a recent sunny spring day, the array was generating over 62 kilowatts of power,” Steva said. “Simply put, the building was using the electrical equivalent of a medium-sized house.”
In addition to saving money, the design also provides educational solutions to the district. Two extended learning areas in each classroom wing help bring natural light into the corridors and flexible learning spaces. Unique features, like “found space” at the end of each hall, create an extended learning area for informal and formal gatherings.
“The school is also seeing an increase in teacher attendance and a decrease in student disciplinary actions,” Steva added. “The positive impacts of sustainable design are quite extraordinary.”