LEED gold for primary school in West Virginia

Spring Mills Primary School in Martinsburg, W. Va., which opened last year for grades K-2, has received LEED gold certification for its sustainable design and construction.

The architect, Williamson Shriver Architects of Charleston, W. Va., says in a news release that Spring Mills, part of the Berkeley County district, is the first new building in West Virginia to receive a LEED gold rating. The $12.7 million building can accommodate 575 students. It also is the first sustainably designed school built through the state's School Building Authority.

When the school opened in August 2011, officials were expecting the project would receive LEED silver certification. The U.S. Green Building Council determined last month that it had enough environmentally friendly features to receive a higher rating.

Some of the 63,000-square-foot building's environmentally friendly features that garnered LEED points:

  • Daylighting: The plan uses classroom orientation (due north or south), oversized windows with light shelves and sunscreens, high-sloped ceilings, and light classroom wall colors to bring daylight into learning areas. Electronic sensors monitor the natural light so that electronic lighting can supplement daylight when needed.
  • Energy Saving: Through the use of an Insulated Concrete Form wall system, enhanced roof insulation, a geothermal HVAC system and other energy saving features, Spring Mills will consume about a third less energy than a comparable, conventionally designed school building.
  • Water Savings: The school is equipped with waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, and reduced-flow kitchen equipment. The facility uses 30 percent less water than a conventional elementary school.
  • Composting: The school has a kitchen waste-pulping system and decomposing unit that reduces the amount of food waste taken to landfills by 78 percent compared with other Berkeley County elementary schools. The remaining waste can be used as mulch or fertilizer for school or community projects.
  • Green Cleaning: Spring Mills' cleaning program reduces the use of harsh, ecologically unfriendly chemicals.
  • School as a Teaching Tool: The faculty will teach environment stewardship to students, through curriculum-based elements as well as building design elements and signage.

"We put a lot of time and attention into making this building as environmentally friendly – and student friendly – as possible," says architect Greg Williamson. "We are extremely pleased to see this project achieve LEED Gold."

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