Green Awareness Starts Early in Brazoria – Part two

July 27, 2009  /  Lifestyle

The West Brazos Junior High School was LEED® certified on June 30th, 2007. Built at a very reasonable cost of $109 per square foot and based upon a variety of conscientious green construction decisions, the school scored 27 points in the LEED® rating program.Certain components of the school, like the computer labs, the faculty lounge and the fitness center were forced to be located in areas without a view of the outdoors. However, more than 90% of the remaining space captures the expansive view and vistas as well as enjoy natural daylighting. The school’s green concept team subscribed to data suggesting that students benefit from improved indoor study and work environments and made a conscious effort to link the school to the environment. Wherever practical, clerestories were installed to increase daylight.The administration has been rewarded. Upon moving into the school, in the fall of 2006, average student standardized test results have improved by four points in mathematics, five points in reading and seven points in social studies.In the LEED® rating program, all the small decisions add up to LEED® points. The project’s green team selected all the building’s adhesives, sealants, paints and carpeting based on their low chemical emissions. Meanwhile, entry grates were placed near every exterior door. These grates trap soil before it enters the school. Only LEED®-rated green cleaning products are permitted on the premises.Getting the students involved in green awareness was part of the school’s plan. Students are commended for utilizing alternative transportation. As part of a carpool incentive program, teachers and students who participate in carpools receive preferred parking. For cyclists, secure bike racks and showers are available.To reduce the urban heat-island effect, the roofing materials and the site paving are light colored. Exterior lighting was selected to further reduce light pollution.The Columbia Brazoria Independent School District is located 50 miles southwest of Houston and covers 225 square miles. Now, this area features the first LEED® certified junior high school in the state.

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