The School District in partnership with design and construction teams, Song & Associates Architects and Pirtle Construction, achieved a LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council for the new Everglades Elementary School. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating System was designed by the US Green Building Council to encourage and facilitate the development of more sustainable buildings. The Certification requires all aspects of the campus to be evaluated for Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality.
Everglades Elementary opened its doors to students on August 23, 2010. The School District planned for this facility in order to relieve overcrowding at three nearby elementary schools. The project was completed on time and was approximately 20% under the original construction budget.
LEED aspects and green initiatives were at the forefront during the planning, design and construction of the facility. The entire team diligently sought to preserve various elements of the site for the students to utilize as a learning tool, as well as numerous opportunities within the school building to reinforce the learning opportunities that have been incorporated throughout the school.
According to Everglades Elementary Principal Dwan Moore-Ross, “The end result of this collaboration is an educational facility which is not only beautiful, but can also be utilized as a learning tool for our teachers, students and community. The “Green Wall” is a perfect example of a fun and exciting tool to teach everyone about how this elementary school is helping our environment and the part we all play in this endeavor.”
BUILDING AS A TEACHING TOOL - The “Green Wall” is a place to display Everglades Elementary School’s “Green” facts.” The 42” Touch Screen is also located on this wall which provides usable data that illustrates the building systems green technologies, design features and energy conservation strategies employed throughout the building or across the entire campus. A photovoltaic system is soon to be installed at the southernmost covered walkway. This system is designed to feed the main electrical panel and the amount of solar energy provided by the panels can be monitored by the students. By providing this information along with real-time energy use data and costs, active participation by the students and community will be promoted to help reduce these costs and promote environmentally friendly practices.
MINIMIZED HEAT ISLAND EFFECT–The “Heat Island Effect” refers to the absorption of heat by hardscapes, such as dark, non-reflective pavement and buildings, and its radiation of the surrounding area. Everglades Elementary incorporates white roofing and light colored concrete sidewalks to reflect instead of absorb the heat from the sun.
ALTERNATIVE VEHICLE PARKING – Environmentally friendly vehicles, such as hybrids, are especially good for the environment. They reduce the amount of pollutants released into the atmosphere because they burn less fossil fuel than regular cars. Another way to burn less fossil fuel is to carpool with others. As a reward, the school has designated parking spaces closer to the school for Hybrids and for carpooling vehicles.
POLISHED CONCRETE – All corridors as well as the media center and dining area have polished concrete floors. It is made of sand, crushed rocks, water, and something called lime (not the fruit). After these floors dried and hardened, instead of being covered with another material, they were polished and left exposed. Concrete is durable and requires very little maintenance. Polished concrete is naturally glossy so there is no need to apply a wax or protective coating.
RECYCLING – There are several recycling areas in the school. Cardboard, paper, glass, plastic and aluminum are placed in designated bins and recycled. During the construction period, 93.64% of construction waste was recycled and diverted away from landfill.
OCCUPANCY SENSORS – All the classrooms and main gathering spaces are equipped with occupancy sensors. A sensor tells the air conditioning system when there is no longer anyone in the room and, therefore, the need to cool the classroom is reduced. These sensors help lower the monthly electric bills and help reduce energy.
ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHTING – Light fixtures are energy-efficient fluorescent lights instead of the incandescent type. Occupancy sensors detect when a room is empty, and the lights turn off.
WATER-SAVING FIXTURES – Low-flow sinks and toilets, as well as waterless urinals, are used to conserve water.
RAIN WATER COLLECTIONS – Cisterns (or rain barrels) are used to capture rainwater from roofs. One way to use the collected rainwater is to irrigate the landscape or garden.
HYDROPONIC GARDEN – Everglades Elementary has a hydroponic garden – plants such as fruits, vegetables and herbs are grown in containers above ground using drip irrigation. This type of gardening is water and space efficient and also protects the plants from insects in the soil. The garden provides a unique outdoor learning environment for the students.
SOLAR PANELS – Photovoltaic (PV devices) or “solar cells” change sunlight directly into electricity. Individual PV cells are grouped into panels that can be used in a wide range of applications. The energy the school produces will go back into FPL’s “grid.”
DROUGHT TOLERANT LANDSCAPE – AKA Florida Friendly Landscape. Florida-friendly plants, including Florida native plants, were used because they require little irrigation or fertilizer, are low maintenance and attract wildlife. They can survive drought due to deeper root structures and internal moisture storage. Native plants also provide habitats for butterflies, lizards and birds. The design preserved existing trees to the greatest extent possible including the protection of two, large specimen Ficus trees.
LIGHT POLLUTION CONTROL – Light pollution, waste light from building sites that produce glare, is directed upward to the sky, or is directed off the site. Light pollution is also a sign of energy waste. The school’s lighting fixtures are directed downward to emit the lowest amount of light possible to safely illuminate our parking lots and walkways.
SUN SCREEN – To help reduce the solar heat that transmits from the sun’s rays to the interior of the school, exterior sun screens were placed to diffuse the natural daylight that enters into the building and keeps the rooms from getting too hot.
DAYLIGHT/VIEWS & CLEAR STORY WINDOWS – Natural light into classrooms and other learning spaces reduce the dependency on artificial lights. North facing windows in the school provide daylight without adding heat and glare from the sun and South facing windows have exterior solar shades. Effective daylight provides health and energy benefits.
For more information please contact Ms. Moore-Ross at 561-792-9500.