The World’s Greenest K-12 Building?

Wondering where the world’s greenest K-12 school building is? According to the International Living Building Institute (ILBI), it’s the Hawai’i Preparatory Academy’s Energy Lab on the Big Island.

This facility was designed to meet the Living Building Challenge, which is widely regarded as the world’s most rigorous standard for green building. In order to achieve its status as a Living Building through the ILBI, designers had to demonstrate that it generates all of its own energy via clean, renewable sources; captures and treats its own wastewater using ecologically sound techniques; incorporates only nontoxic, appropriately sourced materials; and operates not only efficiently, but for “maximum beauty.”

Hawai'i Prep Energy Lab

image via International Living Building Institute

The building has achieved the distinction of this ultra-green certification following a year-long energy audit by the ILBI.

“The purpose of the Living Building Challenge is to fundamentally transform the relationship between the built and natural environments,” commented Jason F. McLennan, CEO of the institute, in a statement.  He goes on to note that by incorporating advanced restorative design practices into its Energy Lab, Hawai’i Preparatory Academy has created a unique educational opportunity. (Like so many other green schools on the mainland, students here will collect and study real-time comparative data on the building’s renewable energy systems and energy efficiency.)

As an added bonus, the Energy Lab will produce a surplus of energy, allowing it to contribute power to the campus’s other buildings.

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.