Project File: Environmentally friendly

The goal for this construction project was to design an elementary school that minimized the negative effects of building on the environment and created an enhanced-learning environment.

The Third Creek Elementary School, Raleigh, N.C., features a constructed wetland that will not only slow and cleanse storm water before it leaves the site, but also serve as an outdoor classroom where students can study science, math, writing and art. Learning gardens, where children can learn about nature through color, texture and scent, are incorporated at each classroom wing.

An integrated pest-management program has been adopted to ensure that the least toxic methods are used to control pests, on-site and within the school building. Low-flow plumbing fixtures, including waterfree urinals, have been installed throughout the facility and will reduce water consumption by more than 30 percent.

More than 50 percent of the building materials budget was spent on recycled materials. All of the building's casework was constructed with strawboard, a rapidly renewable and formaldehyde-free alternative to particleboard. All of the building's doors were constructed from wood that had been certified according to the Forest Stewardship Council's guidelines for sustainably managed forests. Low-VOC finishes, which protect the quality of indoor air, also were used throughout the facility.

The architect for this project is Moseley Architects/Moseley Wilkins & Wood (Richmond, Va.).

For more information on these projects and others, visit www.schooldesigns.com.

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