Chapter Spotlight: SoCal School Gets a “Greenovation”

Published on: 
7 Aug 2012
Wendy Rogers

On July 11, 2012 the USGBC Orange County (USGBC OC) Chapter in California proudly announced that the green school renovation project is under construction! After nine months of design, planning approvals and fundraising, our local design and construction community has successfully achieved ’liftoff’ to pilot a blueprint for all Orange County schools to improve their learning environments and grow their environmental curriculum.

Davis Magnet School specializes in teaching science, math and technology using hands-on methods to enhance student learning, and the improvements we’re bringing to their facility will help them continue to live out their mission.
As the demo on the interior of this existing classroom starts, join us in saying goodbye to walls with no thermal insulation and little sound attenuation, ceiling and flooring with outdated adhesives and without recycled content, and air conditioning and lighting that use too much energy.

When students return to Ms. Lopez’s class on the first day of school they won’t see the new thermal insulation with recycled content inside the walls that will improve energy savings, but they will see the carpet and ceiling that will collectively provide better indoor air quality and acoustics. This new classroom will embrace natural light with tubular daylighting devices, high-performing light fixtures and a smart lighting control system. Existing operable windows will remain useful in this temperate climate, but on seasonally warm days a displacement ventilation system will gently deliver cool air to the students using less energy, with a sign reminding students to close the door.

Not only will the classroom save energy, but multiple tackable wall surfaces and countertop space in the new layout provide flexibility in the learning environment which means as teaching styles evolve, the classroom will still function and not require costly remodeling -- a truly sustainable approach!

In December of 2011, Sunbelt Controls installed sophisticated energy monitoring controls in two existing classrooms that measure HVAC, lighting and plug load data in addition to the interior and exterior temperature, humidity and C02 levels in order to establish a baseline for this retrofit. This fall our chapter will be documenting the performance data between these two classrooms to demonstrate the operational benefits of these classroom improvements. The students and faculty at Davis Magnet School are eager to share what they learn from this project with the entire Orange County community and beyond. They get it!!

The Center for Green Schools awarded a 2011 and 2012 Green Schools Innovation Grant to the Orange County Chapter for their creativity and commitment to forging community support of green schools through tangible results. For more information, or if you would like to contribute toward this project, please contact the USGBC Orange County Chapter.