LEED Award for Loften High School Project

  • District Earns National Award
    for ‘Green’ Building


    Alachua County Public Schools has become one of just three school districts in Florida to win national recognition for the design and construction of a ‘green’ building.

    The district has been notified that the new classroom/multi-purpose building at the Professional Academies Magnet at Loften has earned LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC). This non-profit organization promotes ‘green’ building throughout the nation, and recognizes schools and other buildings that meet their stringent criteria. Only five school buildings throughout the state have earned certification, and only three have earned the Silver.

    “LEED certification identifies the Loften High School Classroom and Multi-Purpose Building as a pioneering example of sustainable design and demonstrates your leadership in transforming the building industry,” said CEO and President S. Richard Fedrizzi in a congratulatory letter to the district.

    The two-story building at the Professional Academies Magnet at Loften High School (PAM@Loften) includes a wing of sixteen classrooms and a multi-purpose/dining room and kitchen. A host of energy conservation features were incorporated into the design and construction of the building, from the selection of the site and the placement of the building to the materials used for cabinets. For example, the building was oriented along an east-west axis to provide the optimal balance between sunlight and heat. Many of the materials used in construction are made of either recycled or regional products, saving energy and cutting down on the debris going into landfills. Waterless urinals and automatic shut-off faucets save water. Lights are connected to motion sensors and heat and AC units are regulated to reduce energy use during times when the building is not occupied.  Even the exit signs are equipped with energy-efficient LED lamps.

    Ed Gable, the district’s executive director of facilities, says many of the features incorporated into the building save energy and money while improving the indoor environment for students and staff.

    “By using natural light, installing more efficient mechanical systems, cutting down on materials that emit chemicals and other features, we’ve shown that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort and function to conserve energy.”

    Bahar Armaghani, president of the Heart of Florida chapter of the U.S. Green Buildings Council and the assistant director for the UF Department of Facilities Planning and Construction, says the benefits of building green are three- fold.

    “You get economic, environmental and ‘people’ benefits,” she said. “A green building is a good place to learn and work. In fact, studies show students do better academically in green buildings.”

    Armaghani also praised the district for its leadership in green construction, and says her organization plans to make the PAM@Loften project a model.

    “We plan to show other people in the state how Alachua County made this building green,” she said. “The district is one of the pioneers in this area.”

    Gable says two other district projects—the Santa Fe High School Science Classroom Building and the Westwood Middle School Student Services Building—may also qualify for LEED certification.  The Santa Fe building is under construction and the Westwood project is soon to begin. The process of applying for and receiving LEED certification can take nine months to complete.

    More information on the LEED for Schools program is available at  www.usgbcheartfl.org and at the national group’s website at www.usgbc.org. More information about the green features of the PAM@Loften building and about the district’s overall energy conservation program is available on the district’s website.