Around the world, and right here in Ohio, innovative schools are cutting energy costs as they teach conservation.
In the cathedral town of Anger, France, Lycée Chevrollier was overheating on sunny days, so the district had the aging facility retrofitted. That meant giving Lycée a facelift with the solar shades that now not only complement the southern façade of the structure, but also reduce the indoor temperature of the classrooms to cut cooling costs and save energy (Infobank/2011).
Over 4,000 miles east of Anger, and isolated high among the Himalayas, the Druk White Lotus School in Ladakh, India, cuts costs with Trombe walls. The outside surfaces of the walls are coated with heat-absorbing material and separated by an air space from two layers of gas-filled glass facing. At night, heat stored in the space is conducted indoors to make the student dorms more comfortable (Fleming et al. /2002).
Students at Hawaii Preparatory Academy enjoy much warmer surroundings. Their school offers a great view of the tropics, including the 14,000-foot Mauna Kea volcano. Devoted to the study of alternative energy, Hawaii Prep’s lab is a zero-net-energy structure built to ensure that future generations here become stewards of their own sustainable living system (Hoy/2010).
Part of Hawaii Prep’s green advantage is its photovoltaic panels that catch sunlight and convert it to electricity. It also has polycarbonate skylights 200 times stronger than any glass. These protect students from 98 percent of the sun’s UV rays, and together with wood screens and roller shades, regulate the natural light the structure lets in (2010).
Closer to home, The Hocking Energy Institute in Logan, Ohio, uses just half the energy that “non-green” schools the same size use. Not only is the facility itself a model of efficiency, constructed with photovoltaic panels and a reflective roof, but the curriculum is cutting edge. Aiming to attract manufacturing and jobs to the area, the school offers a broad range of courses, from hybrid vehicle technology, to analysis of fossil fuels native to the region (Robertson Construction/2011).
A vital part of the curriculum in each of these schools is not just the conservation of natural resources, but also teaching students the connection between their school and its surroundings. Such facilities encourage project-based learning, which calls for the good judgment and team effort needed to preserve the limited resources of our world.
Diamond, Jared. http://detailwiz.com/window-tinting/ Accessed October 24, 2011.
Fleming, Jim, McGowan, Rory, Richter, Dorothee and Rose, Jonathon. “Druk White Lotus School, Ladakh, Northern India.” The Arup Journal 2 (2002):12.
Hoy, Kat. “Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Laboratory / Flansburgh Architects.” Architecture Daily 2010.
Infobank. “Lycée Chevrollier Presentation: Région Pays de la Loire” (2011).
Robertson Construction. “Case Study: The Hocking College Energy Institute” (2011).