|As part of its hands-on, nature-based curriculum, Learning Gate School has chosen to build all future additions to its campus in an environmentally friendly way. Learning Gate required additional classroom space for its growing student body and for this project, they chose to achieve LEED for Schools Platinum status. The students have become ambassadors for the project and have absorbed the principles within their daily routines.
This LEED project encompasses three structures connected by a covered walkway with spaces including four restrooms and ten classrooms. One classroom was set aside for green and public education and will be available for use after hours and on weekends. This classroom highlights the technical and material features of the building. more at USGBC.org
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/
In the current issue of the Gulfcoast Business Review, Carlson Studio's Gateway Bank renovation is featured as one of the 1st LEED certified banks in Florida.
Gateway Bank goes green
by Carl Cronan, Tampa Bay Editor
Numerous smaller buildings along the Gulf Coast, particularly single-tenant office and retail structures, have sought and achieved LEED certification.
Sarasota-based Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida recently got the green stamp on its 4,500-square-foot Lockwood Ridge Road location, a former Regions Bank branch that opened in 1996.
Shaun Merriman, Gateway Bank president and CEO, says the decision to seek LEED certification was made while the building was being retrofitted for compliance with new state building codes designed to withstand hurricanes. He says the bank worked with Willis A. Smith Construction Inc., whose president, David Sessions, is on its board, as well as local architect Michael Carlson, a strong advocate of LEED design.
Changes to the building range from improved insulation to a new roof that absorbs less heat, with total payback estimated over four years. "It's saving us roughly $4,000 a year on our power bills," says Merriman, who has also calculated that the LEED branch uses at least 40% less energy than its comparable Manatee Avenue office.
An added benefit, he says, comes from being able to maintain a comfortable office setting with the thermostat set at 77 degrees - a seemingly magic number for air conditioning.
"We're not as focused on the economic return as we are on environmental impact," Merriman says. "It makes a huge difference. Not only that, but our employees like it."
Gateway Bank, which launched its own green commitment nearly two years ago, decided to pursue basic LEED certification instead of metal-named levels because gold or platinum is more difficult to achieve with existing buildings, Merriman says. Its next attempt at certifying another branch may be another two years away, he says.
In the meantime, he adds that bank customers are being offered various incentives for making changes that consume less paper, such as converting to e-statements and performing other banking functions online: "This business sure kills a lot of trees."
Michael Carlson, AIA, LEED AP & Jedd W. Heap, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP will present several of the firms LEED certified projects and discuss the philosophies behind each project's design and environmental integration.
Carlson Studio Architecture is a Sarasota-based, full service architecture firm, committed to design excellence, comprehensive project delivery and personal attention to each project. The firm is a regional leader in sustainable design and LEED projects.
Sustainability is a key principal we apply to all of our projects. The integrated design approach that we utilize in all our work allows us to provide high quality, high performance buildings for our clients. We look at our buildings as part of the greater "whole system." Everything is part of one Whole System.