Seattle School Promotes Green Learning

Students at green schools all over the country are gaining an education not just in math, science and reading, but in the green energy produced and consumed by the buildings where they spend their days. Designed with educational displays–as well as an innovative classroom ventilation device–Seattle‘s new Epiphany School [PDF] is the case in point.

The building–designed by Robert Hull, a partner at Miller Hull Partnership–makes use of photovoltaic panels, a green roof, and a high-efficiency radiant floor.  A meter wall in the building keeps students updated on the operation of these systems with educational text and graphics, as well as  the building’s water, gas, electric usage.

Epiphany School

image via Miller Hull Partnership

The building also features operable windows for natural ventilation and a chimney shaft in each classroom topped with two solar-powered fans. When classroom temps get too hot,  a louver to the chimney opens and these fans draw warm air out.  The operation of this system is indicated by a sculptural device that moves when air gets pulled upward, swaying and twirling in the breeze.

The school features a garden designed to help students deliver home-grown produce to their own cafeteria (and learn how to cook it, too). As a complement to all these sustainable features and systems, a curriculum has been developed by the faculty that uses the school itself as a teaching tool for sustainability and energy conservation.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.