1. School districts invest thousands of dollars each year on operation and maintenance of school emergency exit signs. Easy ways to decrease these costs consist of the use of photoluminescent items. All of these signs are run solely by the ambient light from standard fluorescent lighting. They require no electrical elements. Not only that, there are no toxic, self-luminous agents. These green egress signs are 100% recyclable and cut CO2 emissions by nearly 500,000 pounds annually, per 100 signs installed.
2. Light Reflective and Environmentally Friendly Roofs: Green building design should start right at the top of the school building with the use of non-standard roofing materials. Plain high-reflection roofing has greater durability over that of typical roofing, and it also allows a bounce-off response of direct sunlight, reducing cooling prices. Eco-Friendly Roofs, or full roof gardens, reduce the costs of air conditioning further, raise roofing longevity by 30-50 years, and produce priceless “green space” for students to take advantage of and appreciate.
3. Non-polluting Air Design: Prior generations thought nothing of opening a classroom window. In the hurry to build low-priced schools that meet a minimum of building codes, the plain operable window has practically disappeared. Air flow in average schools is maintained through the recycling of present in-building air supplies, circulating cold and flu viruses through the school. Sustainable technology gives back the open window, draws clean air through roof venting, and utilizes heat energy from stale, removed air to minimize energy expenses. Wellness financial savings to the community can add up to millions.
4.Solar Power Energy Source: Industrious solar panels absolutely cut emissions and energy costs. Solar power also makes it possible for schools to earn money by feeding excess power back into the public grid. Passive solar power, through use of large windows and skylights, is a further way to save. This specific technology collects the natural warmth of sunlight to reduce the need for power driven fixtures and mechanical heating.
5. Rainwater Collection: A single normal-sized school will save 2 million gallons of water and 1,000 pounds in nitrogen runoff when using rainwater collection. Tank-stored rainwater works extremely well to power flush toilets, irrigate school grounds and, if carefully filtered, provide tap water for the entire building. The annual cash savings can total in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Contrary to popular belief, sustainable building design in schools is not costly. The complete cost increase over average design is less than 2%. Lower energy use on it’s own can quickly counter these costs. School buildings that are green benefit the neighborhood, the children, and the world in many ways. Get your school district on the path to sustainable schools, today!