School Board approves LEED certification
The Park City School District approved environmentally friendly certification on the reconstruction of Park City High School by a vote of 4-1 at the board meeting held Oct. 3.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating, or LEED, sets specified standards in energy efficiency in which buildings under construction must meet to be certified.
The program considers five key areas in energy conservation, including water savings, energy efficiency, materials, sustainable site development and indoor environmental quality.
U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington, D.C., based nonprofit group of architects, builders and suppliers, awards the certification. Its goal is to promote savings in energy costs, minimal environmental impact of construction.
"We will be the first high school in Utah to be LEED certified," said Steve Oliver, a school district official assigned to the construction.
The not-to-exceed-limit cost to the School District will be $60,000. If the Park City High School does not meet the criteria for LEED certification, the district will not be charged, Oliver said.
Oliver said the $60,000 covers the paperwork and inspection costs to buy a plaque.
"But we really do want that plaque. Its value is more than its cost," he said. "The bulk of the funds go mostly to supplying the documentation and paperwork to prove we have met the criteria. The contractors and subcontractors have to prove it."
For a building to be certified, it must meet green requirements based on a point system. Every energy saving feature incorporated is worth points.
Those who argued against LEED certification pointed out that the school as it is planned would meet all of the criteria regardless of certification. Oliver said that is a valid argument, but that the certification will be a value to the community.
"We’re looking at a $29 million construction project verses $60,000 for LEED certification," he said.
Those who fear that the monies are being pulled from the teaching budget, that is not the case, Oliver said.
"There are two sources of school funds. They cannot be mixed. The bulk of these funds come from property taxes apportioned for capital projects, which can be used only for construction and projects like repaving parking lots," Oliver said. "It’s not like we are taking pencils and papers out of a child’s hands."
Oliver also sees the LEED certification as a green teaching tool for Park City High School students.
"I think it’s going to be a phenomenal teaching tool and a timely application," Oliver said.
Exhibits on campus may display construction features incorporated into the building
Some of the green features Park City High School is incorporating include the already-installed synthetic turf on the football field and drought-tolerant landscaping. Recycled materials such as steel beams from the old buildings are being reconditioned to meet or exceed current building-code requirements so they can be used in the construction.
Large, energy efficient windows in classrooms allow sunlight to provide a portion of room lighting. Reflective shelves beneath windows bounce sunlight to the ceiling, providing the natural lighting.
Candidates running for Park City School Board District 5, believe the certification is important.
The features promoted by LEED and incorporated in Park City High School will pay for themselves over time in energy savings, Oliver said. "I think five years from now this will be a highly valued decision," he said. "Let’s give it a couple of years and we’ll see."
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Buses, trains and gondolas doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but they make up the transit alternatives for the mountain transportation system the Central Wasatch Commission is trying to create, mostly in the Cottonwood canyons.