It’s Finally Easy Being Green
New school construction focuses on the environment and the budget.
John McEwan, superintendent of Whitman-Hanson School District, welcomes the sunlight to warm up one of his schools.
Natural lighting keeps energy costs down in the high school’s gymnasium, and temperature levels adjust themselves to cool a busy classroom.
Students at Whitman-Hanson Regional High School in Whitman, Massachusetts, help save the planet simply by showing up for class. The $49 million facility, which opened last September on time and under budget, sports solar panels that generate about 10 percent of the building’s energy requirements. State-of-the-art monitoring systems dim lights automatically on sunny days and adjust air circulation and heat levels according to the number of occupants in a room, helping to keep students alert and attentive. On the lower-tech end, rainwater is collected from the roof and stored underground in a 20,000-gallon tank. This water is used to flush toilets and cool the air-conditioning system. Says District Superintendent John McEwan: “If we can conserve energy and be creative in finding ways to be environmentally friendly, it’s a good lesson for everyone.”
Photos: ©Eric Roth