Tag Archives: leed-certified projects

Green Schoolhouse Series

Green Schoolhouse Series Creates Sustainable Valley Schools

Thanks to the Green Schoolhouse Series, three Arizona schools will receive makeovers with sustainability in mind as part of an 18-market national tour.

For 14 million American children in school today, December 1, 2011 marked a step in the right direction for a healthier and greener future. This moment in time ceremoniously marked the groundbreaking day of what will become the first ever LEED-Platinum designed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) school right here in Phoenix, Arizona.

Roadrunner Elementary School is currently receiving a major makeover to become a healthy, environmentally friendly and energy efficient schoolhouse serving as the inaugural site of Green Schoolhouse Series.

Aiming to bring greener practices both in the construction of the schoolhouses and the student’s curriculum, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) has partnered up with the Green Schoolhouse Series to put such ideas into action. The well-underway construction at Roadrunner Elementary, expected to be completed by May 2012 and ready for the fall 2012 school year, is just one of three schools in the state to receive a much needed upgrade. Orangewood Middle School and Green Phoenix Learning Center will also take part in integrating sustainable facilities and greener practices as part of the 18-market national tour.

The schools involved in the series are Title 1, low-income, public schools; they will receive facilities comprised of recycled and environmentally-friendly materials with solar rooftops and rainwater harvesting capabilities. Each classroom will also be equipped with state-of-the-art technology incorporating interactive white boards, surround sound, outdoor learning spaces and green gardens. These upgrades come as a stark contrast to the outdated portables found on so many school campuses across the nation.

The LEED-Platinum certified schoolhouses aim to have a net-zero energy use, net-zero water use and non-toxic interior environments. As for the technology within the classrooms, senior partner of the Green Schoolhouse Series, Jeff Zotara, says they hope to, “create an engaging environment for the students, while encouraging interaction.” With that, the curriculum within the schools will encourage green practices, such as conserving energy along with learning about the importance of eating healthy and organic.

Built entirely by professional and community volunteers, the construction of the schoolhouses will match the hard work of the teachers, school board members, students and parents of each chosen school who helped to submit the grant application for their school to become part of the Green Schoolhouse Series. In that, the school’s commitment to sustainable practices has already influenced other community members as many local and even non-local business have stepped forward to help make donations.

Although not every school in America is financially able to build LEED-certified buildings, Zotara describes the Green Schoolhouse project as a “national movement and an iconic example of what is possible.” Taking the ideas of living more sustainably, senior executive member of BCBSAZ, Deanna Salazar, comments on the impact of the projects saying, “It’s our hope that these schools will inspire other schools to look at ways green living and healthier practices can be incorporated into school curriculum.”

With the ongoing projects of Green Schoolhouse Series, there are still opportunities to get involved, as each project is 100 percent dependable on donations made by businesses, both small and large.

For more information on opportunities to get involved with the Green Schoolhouse Series call (760)431-5400 or visit greenschoolhouseseries.org to learn more.

Green Ideas Construction, green building opportunities, LEED

Strategies For Capturing Green Building Opportunities

In the early days of green building, some contractors differentiated their companies with marketing claims that highlighted the number of LEED Accredited Professionals on staff. Although many of them had little or no actual experience with LEED-certified projects, a phrase added to a statement of qualifications document — such as, “We have 30 LEED APs on our team” — was enough to help win projects. That is no longer the case.

Many contractors now have multiple LEED APs on staff, so it is no longer a differentiator. Owners are now more sophisticated and informed about what green building really means. In the future, this fundamental strategy will become harder to keep in effect as continuing education requirements are introduced that require ongoing education in order to keep an individual’s LEED accreditation current.

In order to secure green building projects in the future, contractors will have to get creative in demonstrating their commitment to sustainability in more specific and credible terms. There are two key strategies that successful market-ready contractors should implement in order to remain competitive.

Green Building Manual
Creating a simple green building manual is an easy way for a contractor to show prospective clients that they have thought through the green building process. It can also be an effective way to demonstrate the specifics of how the contractor will go about constructing a green building if done properly. Effective green building manuals should include, at a minimum:

* Sustainable office operations document.
* An environmental impact statement and policy.
* Construction activity pollution prevention program.
* Construction waste management policy.
* Indoor air quality — during construction policy.
* Material sourcing and purchasing policy.

Environmental Management System
Over the last decade the Associated General Contractors of America has actively promoted and encouraged its members to develop a comprehensive Environmental Management System (EMS), but relatively few have actually developed an EMS or even an effective alternative way to manage their regulatory responsibilities. In its basic form, an effective EMS for a contractor or construction manager would include the following elements:

* Incorporate appropriate measurements for various site practices.
* Establish a template for EMS reporting (measurement and accounting) on all projects.
* Provide employees on all projects with access to federal, state and local standards, and regulations pertaining to each project.
* Incorporate the desired green building or LEED standard credits into each project.
* Provide the necessary tools to efficiently supply clients with a comprehensive list of project-specific environmental accomplishments and EMS performance data.
* Provide data for use in the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report.

Of course, every Environmental Management System will be different as business, marketing, financial and environmental goals vary from company to company. However, the end result of the EMS for all firms should be:

* Reduction of fines and penalties.
* Compliance with environmental regulations.
* Establishment of the contractor as a premier environmental contractor.
* Capability to populate reports with project-specific environmental documentation.
* A satisfied client that will hire your company again.

An effective EMS program should also be accompanied by a communications program, in order to demonstrate to the world the company’s commitment to the EMS program and corresponding results to the business community. Marketing a company’s core competencies is integral to securing future work, so the communications program should differentiate the firm from competitors, show example CSR Reports and communicate competence to deliver LEED projects.

Additionally, the federal government (GSA) is beginning to require contractors to have an EMS in place in order to qualify for government work, and many states are beginning to do the same.

In order to secure more green building projects in the future — whether they are LEED, Green Globes or some other certification — construction managers, general contractors and specialty contractors will need to be proactive in order to demonstrate their understanding and commitment to sustainability. A comprehensive EMS program that contains sustainable construction means and methods elements is a sure way to show prospective clients how the company can help achieve green building goals on time, within budget and in a manner that is truly sustainable.

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