Northern High School has been awarded LEED Silver status in recognition of the sustainable practices used in the construction of the new building. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the most widely used green building rating system in the world and an international symbol of excellence. Through design, construction, and operations practices that improve environmental and human health, LEED-certified buildings are helping to make the world more sustainable.
Northern High School achieved LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions in areas including sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Green buildings allow companies to operate more sustainably and give the people inside them a healthier, more comfortable space to work. Among other green features, the geothermal HVAC system and LED light fixtures are energy efficient. An underground cistern collects water from the roof to irrigate athletic fields, while water-efficient toilets and other fixtures reduce water usage by 35%. Sustainable practices extend to the materials used in the construction; 20% of the materials were regionally sourced and manufactured, and 20% of the building materials utilized recycled content.
Dr. Daniel D. Curry, Superintendent, said, “LEED certification was our goal during the planning and design phase of Northern High. We wanted a building that would be an example of environmentally sound construction that would provide unique opportunities for students.” As evidence that the design of the building enhances learning, one of the credits the school received was an Innovation in Design credit called “School as a Teaching Tool,” which requires utilizing the building’s sustainable features as a component of the existing curriculum.
“Achieving LEED certification is more than just implementing sustainable practices. It represents a commitment to making the world a better place and influencing others to do better,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president, and CEO, USGBC. “Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the central role buildings play in that effort, Northern High School is creating a path forward through their LEED certification.”
The next major construction project undertaken by Calvert County Public Schools will be the replacement of Beach Elementary School. Shuchita Warner, Director of School Construction, said the new building will be designed according to LEED silver standards, with the expectation that it will become the second school is the system to earn the prestigious designation.