PDT recently led green schools presentations for each of our two newest school clients, RSU 39 in Caribou and MSAD 75 in Topsham. The presentations were educational, inspirational, participatory, and the beginning of our green schools goal setting process for each of the projects.
What is a Green School?
A green school is healthy, comfortable, energy efficient, material efficient, and easy to maintain and operate. A green school is located on an environmentally responsible site, is adaptable to changing needs, is safe and secure, and is a building that teaches. The design, construction, and operations of a green school are based on long term, life cycle costs that result in minimized environmental impact, improved occupant health and productivity, and reduced long term operational costs.
How do we design a green school?… With an integrative design process.
An integrative process encourages project teams to identify shared goals early in the design process, analyze synergies between all parts of the project, and explore multiple strategies to meet project performance goals. The process embeds the value and meaning of sustainability into how we work on our projects.
What this means for our work in simple terms is that we frontload the design process. • We holistically understand the existing context. • We set shared goals with the owner prior to design. • We bring all team members to the table early in the design process. • Applying systems thinking, we set up feedback loops and other collaborative procedures to optimize all the decisions we make.
We will take the conversations from each of the green schools presentations and begin to prioritize unique sustainability goals for each project. We will carry those goals throughout each project - weighing our options, considering life cycle costs, looking at synergies between systems, and making sure both clients end up with a cost effective, healthy, and environmentally friendly building that can truly enhance productivity and make education enjoyable and rewarding.