Portland middle school debuts new low-energy building

Portland middle school debuts new low-energy building

Credit: KGW photo

Portland middle school debuts new low-energy building

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by By TERESA YUAN, kgw.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on November 5, 2009 at 6:27 PM

PORTLAND -- One Portland school was living up to it's name, da Vinci Middle School.

The school in Northeast Portland took after the famous inventor and created its own Renaissance in recycling and sustainability.

After three years in the making, the school had a new green musical building. It was not just a place to showcase students' talents, but also a room built to generate it's own energy with minimal maintenance.

The soon-to-be certified LEED Platinum building, the highest distinction, was naturally ventilated with turbines on the building's roof. There were vents in the classroom to pull in and out fresh air.

Plus, solar shingles powered the music building. Reflectors hung from the classroom's ceilings and use natural light to help brighten the room.

"It's so amazing," said Astrid Grigsby-Schulte, a 7th grade student.

Students like Astrid were becoming ambassadors of green living and learning and experts on energy efficiency.

"We have dampers up there in the roof. They open up by a computer and tell the computer if there's too much CO-2 or if it's too warm inside. The computer will then close the dampers," said student Theo Knights.

"I didn't realize how much we could be saving and now that global warming is happening I really want to work to save more," Maraya Keny-Guyer, a 7th grade student, said.

Another way the students at da Vinci Middle School go green was by pouring their left-over milk and juices into a recycling system which filters it into clean water, which flows into a pond in their rain garden. The garden used to be an old, dilapidated tennis court on campus.

The students also learned about science in this natural watershed from conservation to water management and habitats.

"This is an amazing educational opportunity for the kids. It's interactive. It's exciting," said Nancy Bond, Portland Public Schools Resource Conservation Specialist.

Exciting lessons and classrooms that have inspired students to starting thinking green at a young age.

The school district planned to monitor which energy-efficient features work well or not and hopefully implement them at other schools in the future.

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