During the early planning phases of the Bond Program, it became clear that the Menlo Park City School District desired to commit to a position regarding the design and construction of new facilities as related to “green” construction. The issue is important to the Community and of particular concern to the District in its desire to be responsible for both good design and the environment. The staff researched different ways to develop environmental guidelines for the Bond Program. Various existing programs such as LEEDS, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS), and other environmental guidelines were investigated.
The District Facility Committee recommended that the adoption of CHPS Guidelines, as they were specifically developed for California schools. The CHPS program takes a holistic approach in providing direct benefits to students and staff through good design and construction practices. The approach allows flexibility for the District to choose specific areas of concentration in which to earn the points required to qualify as a CHPS School. The District also believes that by adopting standardized environmental guidelines it will ensure that minimum established District standards are met while providing the opportunity to exceed the minimum standards if in the best interest of the District. Another benefit of the CHPS program is that it will not create a complicated and costly certification process. As part of the State Proposition ID Bond, the State allocated approximately $100 million for “green” schools. Additional information about the CHPS program can be found at www.chps.net.
The District has set goals to design and construct schools that meet or exceed the minimum CHPS requirements. Below you will find information on the various areas and components that the District is incorporating into the Modernization and New Construction of the Schools.
The District is designing landscaping improvements throughout the schools which will include the planting of trees, shrubs, and plants. The new trees will add shade and help filter the air. The landscaped areas will also assist in reducing heat islands and absorbing rainwater. In addition, well landscaped areas will become an enhancement to the school and community. At various locations where the school needs hard surfaces such as courtyards and parking lots, the District will be looking at installing pervious material to limit stormwater runoff.
Outdoor systems: A water budget will be created for irrigation of landscaping and ornamentation to prevent excessive water use. Rain sensors have been installed at Encinal to turn off sprinklers after measurable rain.
Reduction of Potable Water Usage: The District plans to reduce potable water use by selecting fixtures that limit water consumption. The District will equip bathroom facilities with faucet sensors to limit waste. Ultra low flush or dual flush toilets to decrease water consumption are being researched.
The District’s energy systems are being designed to reduce total net energy consumption by 10% or more as compared to the Title 24 2005 baseline. This will lower energy costs for the District and will help the environment by decreasing overall energy consumption. Through these efforts, the District will leave a smaller carbon footprint and use less of our limited natural resources. The energy reduction efforts will be achieved using the following methods:
On September 27, 2007, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) presented the Menlo Park City School District with a recognition award for being 1 of 22 Districts state-wide that has passed a District Resolution for Sustainability and the Design and Construction of High Performance Schools that meet or exceed the CHPS environmental standards.
The recognition award was accepted by Governing Board Member Laura Rich and Facility Program Manager Ahmad Sheikholeslami in San Francisco during the annual "Greentools" Conference. By adopting the CHPS Standards, the District is committed to the design of high performance schools that are "healthy, comfortable, well lit, and contain the amenities needed for a quality education" while being environmentally sensitive and energy and resource efficient.
Construction of the Preschool/Occupational Therapy Center to serve our special needs students will be the first new building constructed under the District's Bond Program and our first "green" building which meets the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) Guidelines.
The building features energy efficient operable windows, an energy efficient lighting system with motion sensors, and an energy efficient heating and cooling system. The building includes a cool metal roof, high recycled-content materials, wood products harvested from sustainable forests, and low-emitting materials.