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High Performance School Design Covers Sustainable Basics

High performance schools criteria for green building and sustainable maintenance

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The CHPS Criteria explicitly defines a high performance school. The criteria are most useful as a goal-setting and planning tool. Districts can use it to simply and clearly communicate their design goals. At the same time, the criteria's flexibility allows designers to deliver a high performance school while managing the regional, district, and site-specific constraints of the school design.

CHPS Criteria are similar to the USGBC's LEED 2.0 Rating System. However, schools qualifying for CHPS may or may not qualify for LEED and vice versa. Priorities in CHPS Criteria span a wide variety of areas, from site planning and energy use to material specifications and district resolutions. Prerequisites are typically design issues required by state law. These are the design areas included in the CHPS to maximize performance of the school:

  • Daylighting. Quality daylighting designs have been proven to improve student productivity. Integrating the electric lighting system and daylighting also saves energy.
  • Energy Efficiency. Reduce operational expenses, conserve natural resources and reduce local and global pollution.
  • Indoor Air Quality. Protect health with good indoor air quality.
  • Maintenance. Preventative maintenance over the lifetime of the building enhances performance with air quality and energy conservation, as well as teaching environments.
  • Commissioning and Training. All schools should be commissioned to ensure that the design meets the expectations of the district and that it was built according to design.
  • Acoustics. Noise from ventialtion systems, outdoor sources and neigboring rooms are minimized.
  • Sustainable Materials. Sustainable alternatives respect the resources, energy, chemicals, and environmental damage embedded in materials.
  • Waste Reduction. Recycle, compost or salvage the majority of construction and demolition waste instead of disposing of it in landfills.
Best Practices Manual for High performance Schools Volume III: Criteria.

The Collaborative for High Performance Schools

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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