Carrboro High School goes green

DMatchar

Tales from a Jaguar

By Daniel Matchar
Carrboro High School Columnist

Along with Carrboro High School being up-to-date on all of the latest technology and a highly professional atmosphere, the school is also “going green.”
It was recently given a certificate naming it an environment-friendly school. Staying true to its location, the new high school is building on Carrboro’s already excellent reputation for caring deeply about the environment.
Policy 9040, written by the Chapel Hill Carrboro Board of Education, states that it “supports the definition of High Performance Schools provided below and will incorporate it during the design and construction phases of school development. High Performance Schools (HPS) are designed to improve the learning environment while saving energy, materials, and natural resources.”
Without a doubt, Carrboro High School is staying true to the School Board’s wishes; surpassing any environmentalist’s wishes for a school. In fact, Carrboro has recently been registered as a LEED project (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) through the U.S. Green Building Council. The intent of LEED is to give schools that are willing to be eco-friendly means by which they can measure the buildings’ “green” performance.
According their Web site, LEED “promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.”

The question is, what have the people at Moseley Architects done to Carrboro High School that makes it one of only two schools in North Carolina to meet LEED environmental standards?
Through the storage of rain water, 1,250,000 gallons of drinkable water is going to be saved. The water collects in a large pond outside of the school, where it then moves into a storage tank, and eventually into the toilets. Another feature of the bathroom is that the hot water that will soon spout from the sink is going to be heated by solar panels on top of the school.
The second floor, (as well as parts of the first floor), are going to have light sensitive sensors. For example, when it is sunny outside and there is ample natural light, the indoor lights will turn off. When the clouds come out and cover the sun, the indoor lights will turn back on.
The material on the outside of the school is designed to reflect light, causing the school to naturally be cooler. Through the low use of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), the air quality in the school is going to be excellent.
In addition, 50-75 percent of the waste materials used in building Carrboro High are going to be recycled. The doors throughout the building are made of wood from forests that are protected. Outside of the school, there is city bus stop to promote public transportation.
According to the CHS LEED Certificate, altogether, Carrboro High School is going to be saving the equivalent of 1,638,000 vehicle miles traveled per year!
The message that Carrboro High School is trying to send is that it is not willing to settle for less than a highly sustainable facility, inside and out.
I believe the atmosphere created by this project is going to draw attention to the fact that, considering the times we live in, there is no choice but to have an eco-friendly, “green” school.

Sources for this column included:
• the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools Web site at: http://www.chccs.k12.nc.us/
• the U.S. Green Building Council at: http://www.usgbc.org/
• and Carrboro High School Principal Jeff Thomas.

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