LEED Gold certified Alberta school celebrates health benefits of green schools
Canadian Design and Construction Report staff writer
Students at Westmount School in Okotoks have celebrated their healthy, eco-friendly school this fall as a part of the second annual Green Apple Day of Service. Created by the United States Green Building Council, the Green Apple Day of Service began internationally in 2012 as a means of promoting overall initiatives that encourage organizations, governments, companies and schools to join together to transform learning environments into healthier, safer and more productive places to learn.
Alberta is expected to be home to more than half of all green schools in Canada by the end of 2013, a Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC) news release said. The Alberta Government has had a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) policy since 2006 that mandates all new government-funded buildings, including schools, meet a minimum of LEED Silver certification, with many surpassing this goal.
“We’re proud of the work Westmount School students and staff are doing to further their green practices,” says the province’s infrastructure minister Wayne Drysdale. “Westmount School is an excellent example of government’s commitment to reducing the environmental impact of its buildings and of our ongoing efforts to ensuring healthy learning and working environments for Albertans.”
Westmount School was awarded LEED Gold certification in April 2013, surpassing the government standard of LEED Silver, scoring strong ratings for indoor environmental quality, and using regional and recycled materials.
“We at Westmount School are a community of learners who value the work we do together. Building a community that works together for the good of all people is key to our identity. We are delighted to be recognized for our healthy learning environment and to be participating in this milestone inaugural Alberta event,” says principal Cynthia Glaicar.
The Green Apple Day of Service activities include discussions between building professionals and students regarding the benefits of sustainable buildings, and displays of student projects supporting the Green Apple Day of Service.
Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council, says the Government of Alberta’s commitment to green building sets a strong example for the rest of Canada.
“Green schools are the ideal approach to raise awareness about sustainability among the next generation of Canadians,” he said. “They help students stay healthy and focused with fresh air, lower levels of chemical pollution from furniture and building materials, and access to natural daylight. Alberta has shown real leadership by mandating high environmental and health standards for new schools. This will positively affect students’ health and understanding of solutions to environmental issues.”
The Okotoks school is one of 10 delivered by contractor B2L through a public-private partnership, an Alberta government news release said.
The B2L Partnership (B2L stands for Build to Learn), designed, built and financed the schools, and will maintain them for 30 years. The finance partners are Gracorp Capital Advisors Ltd. and HOCHTIEF Concessions AG. The industry partners who will design, build and maintain the schools include: Graham, Bird Construction Company, GEC Architecture, Gibbs Gage Architects, and Honeywell Limited (Canada).