Articles

LEED Signage Installed at Berry Elementary

Author: Rebecca Luman

The children coming back to HISD's Berry Elementary after the winter holiday break had a surprise waiting for them.  Designed by Gensler, the school achieved LEED Silver certification in 2014.  Unfortunately, due to budget concerns, it was not possible at the time of construction to install signage describing all of the great LEED features of the building.  Through a partnership with the USGBC Green Schools Committee and with assistance from Gensler, the school can now tell its story more easily.  

HISD has a partnership with the USGBC and has committed to LEED certifying all of its bond-approved schools. In 2013, the Green Schools committee decided to work with the existing LEED schools to provide any resources or assistance they may need to get the most out of these great schools.  As the Environmental Magnet Elementary school, Berry Elementary was a great place to start.  When the committee reached out to the principal of Berry, the administration had just changed hands and the new principal was busy getting her hands around the new school she had just taken on.  She knew that the school was LEED-Certified but hadn't had a chance to dig deep into what that meant. The Green Schools committee was able to explain the importance of a LEED certification, point out features in their school and put her in contact with the architect to answer some of her questions.  A contingent of educators from China was coming to tour the school in just a few weeks to learn about Green Building and she had a lot on her plate besides learning about green building.  The timing was perfect to provide her with a crash course that allowed for a fantastic tour.  The Green Schools committee was later able to provide inservice training to the school's teachers to explain the features of the building, and the signs will now be a permanent way for the story of the building to live on.

"It is important for the green-ness of the building to become part of the culture of the school.  With these signs, the teachers will be able to use the building as a teaching tool to further students' understanding of buildings and their environmental implications," said Green Schools Chair, Caroline Kostak. She continued, "It has been great working with the team at Berry. They are very passionate about providing the safest and healthiest environment for their students."

The goal of the Green Schools committee is to work with all of the LEED schools within HISD and other districts that would like help understanding the features of the building and how to maximize the benefits of their LEED Certifications. To contact the Green Schools committee, email [email protected].