Sustainable Design for Schools

Sustainable design for schools is slowly catching on all over the nation. Such designs include daylighting as well as motion dectectors to reduce electric lighting energy use; careful design of HVAC systems incorporating natural ventilation; and in some cases photovoltaic panels and water-heating solar collectors. In many cases the daylighting is accomplished by light shelves set to reflect sun thru the upper part of windows onto the light-colored classroom ceilings.

In one California school design done by Perkins and Will, the energy savings are projected to be over $15,000 a year.

A particularly impressive website which gives a tour of the Roy Lee Walker Elementary school in McKinney Texasmay just knock your socks off. These folks not only utilize natural daylight, but they harvest rainwater (68,000 gallons!) to irrigate the landscape. And... they have a windmill that generates the electricity to pump the irrigation water!

Set aside a little time to give this website a good look. You'll see the beauty of all the natural light thruout the school and you'll note those w--i--d--e hallways where the kids can work in cooperative learning groups or use the computers that line the corridor walls.

The great Matrix Tours panoramics let you manipulate them up, down, and sideways... thru of all the spaces.

Here's the link:.

Awards and Honors
The Academy Award of School Design from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA)
The Shirley Cooper Award for excellence in educational facilities planning, design and construction.
The Citation Award for Architectural Excellence from the National School Boards Association

Have a question about classroom design, or a good idea? E-mail: is listed by the National Clearing House for Educational Facilities (NCEF)

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