August 16, 2010 (Sarasota, FL) Learning Gate Community School, a charter school in Hillsborough County with a curriculum that emphasizes nature, agriculture and environmental responsibility, became the first public school in the United States to earn LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The project, 3 new buildings, consisting of 10 classrooms and an 8,000-square-foot addition to the middle school campus, was designed by Carlson Studio Architecture.
“Green schools – whether newly constructed or retrofitted existing buildings - make a tremendous impact on student health, test scores, teacher retention, school operational costs and the environment,” said Carlson Studio Architecture President Michael Carlson.
The LEED Platinum Certification was awarded on a number of sustainable design strategies and construction features that include:
The new buildings are constructed using prefabricated 6" wood stud modules for quick site assembly. Once placed on their elevated foundations the buildings were insulated with R-30 Soy-Based spray insulation, walls are finished with 95% recycled content gypsum board, and the floors with "Cradle to Cradle" carpet tiles made from soda bottles.
Large insulated north facing windows allow for natural light, while dimmable T-8 fluorescent fixtures will automatically adjust to add additional lighting. The classrooms also utilize a High Efficiency A/C system, which dehumidifies both the fresh air and return air, allowing for smaller sized cooling units.
Rainwater is harvested for the flushing of 1.2 gallon per flush toilets, which will eventually be integrated into an on site "living machine" waste treatment center.
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the USGBC’s standardized 3rd party verification system, administered by the Green Building Certification Institute, for certifying the world’s greenest, energy efficient and high performance buildings.
For more information about the project, visit www.CarlsonStudio.org/projects/---public/learning-gate/ or www.LearningGate.org/