With the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, and under contract to the US Department of Energy, SWA developed the pioneering Resources and Strategy Guide for High Performance Schools. These standards were the first to help school buildings achieve national certifications in energy efficiency and sustainability. With the more recent release of the LEED® for Schools™ rating system, several government and institutional entities have enlisted SWA to help their design and construction teams make innovative and sustainable decisions on public and private school projects. SWA now works with schools of all sizes to implement high performance building programs.
SWA offers private and public schools the same set of energy consulting, certification (including LEED and ENERGY STAR®), sustainability consulting, compliance, and training services that we offer to clients from other market sectors—with special considerations for the needs and challenges that schools must balance. SWA also pairs our schools work with incentive programs as appropriate.
LEED for Schools: A Nationally-Recognized Certification
Based on the LEED® for New Construction™ rating system, LEED for Schools addresses the unique requirements of school buildings while prioritizing children’s health. Since the introduction of the LEED for Schools rating system by the U.S. Green Building Council, all new K-12 schools that register for a LEED certification must follow the new standards. As part of the team that devised the certification criteria and implemented the pilot program, SWA helped establish many of LEED for Schools’ innovative features:
- stringent acoustic and mold prevention requirements
- reduced water use and wastewater creation
- diverting a significant amount of construction waste from landfills
- using materials with high recycled content and VOC low emissions
- incorporating local materials from a 500 mile radius of the sites
- preferred parking for low-emitting and fuel efficient vehicles
- water efficient landscaping and use of native and adaptive plant species
- master planning and shared uses
SWA works with school planners to identify design improvements, energy saving opportunities, and better building systems. Through our partner programs, SWA’s clients also gain access to valuable incentives to implement energy saving strategies that result in better performing buildings with lower utility costs.
New York City School Construction Authority: Green School Guidelines
New York City’s School Construction Authority has also implemented its own rigorous construction standards called the Green School Guide Rating System. The requirements for the GSG are based on compliance with Local Law 86, and equivalent to LEED for New Construction Silver. SWA engineers worked on the very first School Construction Authority Green School project, PS/IS Q48 located in Jamaica, NY to help them become LEED certified and ensure compliance with the Green School Guidelines.