The U.S. Green Building Council Louisiana Chapter invites interested students, parents and other residents to see a model of a green school here in New Orleans. On Saturday, Oct. 25, Ben Franklin High School will be featured as the USGBC Louisiana’s Green Schools Showcase, starting with a tour of the building and a reception to celebrate the designation.
This event, to be held from 11am-1pm at 2001 Leon C. Simon Drive in New Orleans, is the last local event of Greenbuild week, and the last stop on the Green Makes Cents tour – one of the final tours offered as part of the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo 2014, to be held at Morial Convention Center from Oct. 22-24. The conference - the flagship event of the USGBC, which operates the LEED certification program – is expected to bring up to 25,000 green building professionals to the city that week.
Thirty-five vendors of green building products have donated approximately $150,000 worth of materials to the school, and installed them. The innovations include sound-buffering ceiling tiles, self-tinting windows and Idea Paint in two classrooms, to turn walls into white board, and various improvements to two centrally-located bathrooms that make them water conserving and energy efficient. The renovation will include low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint, among other sustainable amenities.
“It is nice to get all these things donated,” said teacher Mary Mysing-Gubala. “USGBC Louisiana wanted to showcase companies that could display their products. And then Allison Bowler, our school’s Assistant Principal Operations, was very instrumental in making it happen – she wanted to make this a more environmentally sound campus, so she was our champion.”
“It all started when we had an Earth Day celebration here and folks with Sage toured the facility,” Bowler said. She explained that this project was meant to show that an older building can be remodeled using sustainable materials and made more energy efficient.
“The students can hear me better,” said Environmental Science teacher Kady Clincy. The projects also offer an opportunity for the students to engage in science and their building in a real way. Noting that one of the projects is to improve air quality by irradiating the intake valve of the HVAC system, one of her students is planning to do a study on the particulates to measure the changes over time. “The air quality in the building is dreadful, Mysing-Gubala said. “This should really help.”
Frank D’Aprile of SageGlass explained that the “electrochromic” windows to be installed adjust the amount of light coming into the classroom depending on how much sun is shining outside. “They conserve electricity because you don’t have to turn the lights on, and they reject 91 percent of radiant heat… They let in just the right amount of light at the appropriate time and condition.”
The companies that donated time and products for the renovations are listed below. To learn more about USGBC Louisiana or Greenbuild, go to www.usgbclouisiana.org or www.greenbuildexpo.org
The United States Green Building Council Louisiana Chapter (USGBC Louisiana) is a 501 (c)(3) organization, whose mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, to be more energy efficient and cost effective. We create healthier places to live, work, and learn through education, advocacy, and community outreach.