Elk Grove High School earns LEED certification for green practices
Elk Grove High School has become one of the select few schools in the state to attain a noted environmental certification for its green operations and maintenance practices.
The school was awarded the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver level certification for its building energy use -- measuring everything from its electricity to water over a two-year period -- and processes and procedures put in place to reduce the building's environmental impact.
"For the operations and maintenance department, this award is on par with the Blue Ribbon award for the instructional side," said Ted Birren, director of operations for Northwest Suburban High School District 214, who shared news of the designation at a school board meeting Thursday.
Some 2,000 schools nationwide have earned LEED certification, many for new construction. Only a few, including Elk Grove and Stevenson high schools, have gotten the award for operations and maintenance.
Birren said District 214 officials submitted enough information about Elk Grove to fill an entire book: like how much trash versus recycling is collected, what kind of mowers cut grass on campus, and what procedures are used by custodians to clean classrooms.
District 214 officials are now working to get the same designation for their five other high schools and the Forest View Administration Center -- a process that involves about two years of data measurement and reporting followed by a year of auditing and verification. It could take until 2023 for all schools to go through the process, Birren said.
He said because the district has many of the same green practices from school to school, all buildings have a good chance at becoming certified. He decided to start with Elk Grove because it's the most recent fully-remodeled building in the district and records were more readily available.
It's not the first time District 214 has been recognized with the LEED designation. It also earned silver awards -- which are below the higher gold and platinum levels -- for its new construction natatoriums at Prospect and Buffalo Grove high schools.