Stevenson seeks LEED certification renewal
Stevenson High School officials are touting their earth-friendly ways as they seek to renew a prominent environmental prize.
Those efforts include recycling 427 pounds of batteries during the 2014-15 school year, using less water and electricity, and reducing the waste produced at the school by more than 46 tons.
The accomplishments are important now because Stevenson administrators want to maintain the school's gold-level status with the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.
Stevenson earned the certification in 2011, becoming the first public high school in the nation to hit that mark for an existing building.
LEED certification expires after five years, and officials are intent on keeping the honor.
"Being a LEED-certified school means that we're being energy efficient, as well as cost efficient, and that we're providing an environment that helps our students learn," Stevenson spokesman Jim Conrey said.
The LEED certification recognized the school's energy-saving efforts and earth-friendly policies. Those steps included increased recycling, lighting and heating adjustments during off hours and reduced paper use.
Officials also installed a garden above an environmental science classroom to absorb sunlight and keep the room cooler. Solar panels were installed to generate power for a different science classroom, too.
"Gold" is the second-highest level in a four-tiered rating system, above "certified" and "silver." Platinum is the highest.
Stevenson staffers and students kept up their green ways after getting the gold ranking. Just in the last year, the school:
• Recycled 210 pounds of crushed fluorescent light bulbs.
• Recycled 3 pounds of printer cartridges.
• Decreased electricity usage by more than 2 percent.
• Reduced the production of recycled and non-recycled waste by more than 10 percent.
"Our school's vision statement calls for Stevenson to be a place of continuous improvement, to be smart stewards with taxpayer money, and to follow industry best practices," Conrey said. "All of these extend beyond the classroom."
The Stevenson High board on Monday will discuss hiring a contractor to assist officials with recertification. If the contract is approved at a subsequent meeting in October, Cannon Design will be paid $71,400 for its work.
Conrey called it a wise investment.
"Those dollars are offset by savings the school has received through its energy conservation programs," he said. "The changes we made as a school to earn LEED certification in 2011 led to annual energy savings of about $100,000 per year."
In another environmentally friendly step, the board also will consider spending $38,487 to upgrade the school's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The proposed improvements are based on recommendations from an energy audit and would be completed by Siemens, Conrey said.
Monday's meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the school's administration center.