November 15, 2013

The Continued Greening of Massachusetts Schools

Schools in Massachusetts continue to go green when it comes to new construction, expansion and renovation. Students at the Douglas Elementary and Middle School, the Vinson-Owen Elementary School in Winchester, Maynard High School, and Tewksbury Memorial High School that CTA Construction and their project teams completed this summer celebrated the commencement of their new school year by moving back into new learning environments that not only support a 21st century curriculum, but spaces that were designed to promote productive learning and enhance the student’s overall well-being. Some of these schools are now up to code and no longer overcrowded, with energy performance enhanced and infrastructure updated.

The Leroy L. Wood Elementary School in Fairhaven, also completed this summer, now occupies a new energy-efficient building that is oriented to take advantage of day-lighting through skylights and new classroom windows, and the artificial lighting is designed to dim automatically when there is sufficient daylight.

The new Beverly High School, completed earlier, included a multitude of sustainable attributes and much consideration for sustainable site development, water usage, energy performance, material selection, recycling, and indoor environmental quality. Major building systems included exterior shading, high efficiency condensing boilers, natural ventilation and energy control systems. The building systems were designed in anticipation that the owner would, and did, install a photovoltaic array system on the roof of the building. To further enhance the sustainability of the building project, during construction, up to 90% of the debris from the demolished building was recycled. The steel and other metals were segregated and shipped to various locations and melted down and reused. The concrete and other building materials were crushed into a finer aggregate material and sold for reuse. The recycling was part of the City of Beverly’s effort to achieve “green school” status as it completed its new high school project.

The Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in New Bedford also featured a multitude of sustainable attributes. The building is located near public transit and has bike/pedestrian access. All roofing has a high solar reflective index, and exterior sunshades were used to reduce the heat island effect. Low flow fixtures are utilized throughout the building and there is no irrigation to reduce water usage. High efficiency mechanical and electrical systems were installed. A solar array was installed on the roof to supplement the electrical supply needed to operate the building. Over 90% of the waste generate from the construction activities was diverted from a landfill and was recycled.
Academic institutions, both public and private, will continue to incorporate sustainable features into their new buildings and renovations for years to come. Whether these buildings will be specifically designed to meet the requirements of the Massachusetts Collaborative for High Performing Schools (MA-CHPS) or LEED standards, owners see the continued environmental, economic and social benefits of building green – from improved air quality, reduced operating costs, to improved occupant productivity and learning, occupants and users will enjoy an overall improved quality of life.

CTA Construction, located in Waltham MA, is a construction management firm that specializes in construction for the academic, commercial, retail and residential sectors. Since 2000, the firm has completed over 30 schools across Massachusetts, with $950 million worth of work completed and in progress. The firm continues to help owners plan and implement their green building initiatives. Roland Tang is CTA’s Vice President of Business Development.