This article was originally published by EcoBuilding Pulse and explains how Manassas Park Elementary School & Pre-K teaches students and the community about energy efficiency.
In 2009, the City of Manassas Park, Va., expanded Manassas Park Elementary, which served kindergarten through third grade, to include fourth and fifth graders, as well as pre-K learners. The two-building project also sought to give students a greater connection with nature, via the wooded preserve adjacent to the campus as well as an outdoor classroom that doubles as a stormwater bioretention facility. Ensconced in glass, the school features no space, be it hallway, office, or classroom, without a view to the outside. And even in an era of security, Manassas Park Elementary makes outdoor learning part of its daily curriculum.
Students are seeing the light – and it's green. Classrooms are equipped with a green light that shows when temperature and humidity levels are suitable for opening the windows. “When that light goes green, oftentimes it’s not just the teachers driving that effort [to open the windows]. It’s the kids,” says Stacey Mammon, principal at Manassas Park Elementary and Pre-K. “They start asking to open the windows. It’s really powerful having that ownership of their school and what’s happening in it.”
The project’s design team made sure to measure energy, water, and other resources from the beginning, enabling even this relatively new structure to provide teaching tools after just three years. Next door, the existing Cougar Elementary school (which opened in 2001) also provided a point of comparison, housing the same number of students and using the same maintenance staff. All told, the lesson is that the right combination of design and material selections, as well as occupant buy-in, can save a lot of energy.
Read the full article: http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/projects/quick-study-in-efficiency_o