“Our world is changing and Walnut Bend gives students hands-on instruction, not something out of a book or video. They feel it and see it all the time, every day. And now our students are committed to sustainability.”
Julie Fernandez, Principal
Walnut Bend Elementary School, Houston ISD
Pursuig a degree in sustainability and currently working in education, this quote puts a smile on my face. Now, if only other schools would adapt the same behavior and attitude!
I spoke with John Klein who was the architect for Timber Creek High School for Keller ISD and Elizabeth Hoggatt Whatley Agriculture Complex (netzero complex). He explained the green elements created for the sustainable school. Landscape retention pond that irrigates all the athletic field area. The school has geothermal HVAC systems and they utilize daylight for much of the schools lighting. Personally, I really enjoy a working environment that is bright provided by the sun! Look at the windows for the cafeteria!!!! 🙂
I have researched sustainable schools and research shows that the design of solar features, such as using daylight, increase students grades and attendance rates are higher. Think about it….would you rather work in a bright, daylight lit area or in closed, stuffy, dull room……This makes sense! John said many schools that he designs, see the positive impact with the sustainable designs.
Another design VLK developed, is the Elizabeth Hoggatt Whatley Agriculture Complex, which is a community college located in (Mount Pleasant) Titus County, TX. The building is LEED Platinum (music to my ears :-)) and also a NetZero facility. The school has a sustainable agriculture so the buildings design is perfect for the program!! Sustainable components built into the design include a rainwater harvest catchment basin, energy efficient pumps, a lighting control system, and a photovoltaic solar array, intended to provide on-site renewable energy. An energy management dashboard display in the building lobby allows individuals a chance to see the energy being produced by both the solar array and wind turbine in contrast to the energy being consumed.
I am excited to learn the about architects that believe in sustainability! I would like to see the introduction of sustainability in all schools and the curriculum. The children are our future and they deserve to have safe, healthy environment. Teach children as they grow and sustainability will become natural to them, just as reading a book!!