Cincinnati Schools’ Environmentally Sound Building Featured in National Education Magazine

Written by Stacey Andell for Schools K-12

Cincinnati Schools’ Green Renovation

Cincinnati School’s has in effect a long term $1 billion building project that will help to renovate and rebuild many of its older buildings. One Cincinnati School ’s elementary school, Pleasant Ridge Elementary School, has been recently featured in District Administration. This national magazine focuses on issues in K-12 education. The article from the August issue discusses the growing concern and interest in green building and environmentally friendly construction. The article states that even though the upfront cost can be more the long term benefits of green construction are quite clear. The construction of Cincinnati Schools’ Pleasant Ridge Elementary School is not only a gain for green construction strategies but it also teaches the students important lessons about the environment and responsibility.

Cincinnati Schools’ Pleasant Ridge Elementary School will be the first LEED School in Cincinnati Schools upon its completion. The LEED Green Building Rating System was devised by the U.S. Green Building Council which has helped Cincinnati Schools write its new building plans and codes. The article refers to the work of Ginny Frazier as one of the major influences on the Pleasant Ridge Elementary School project. A private citizen who lives in the area, Frazier is the head of a local group that advocates environmentally friendly building. She went to the Cincinnati Schools’ authorities and administrators with proposals on how the school in her neighborhood could be rebuilt using green materials and environmentally friendly tactics. Some of the ideas she proposed included according to the article, “geothermal heating so the new building uses the earth’s temperature for cooling and heating, using natural building materials, noxious-free cleaning products and art supplies, as well as natural water filtration systems.”

The article discusses the five key areas that the Cincinnati Schools’ Pleasant Ridge Elementary School project uses innovative techniques or old-fashioned common sense to improve the building design. The Cincinnati Schools’ Pleasant Ridge Elementary School project will improve the lighting of the schools in several ways. The lights will feature sensors that will automatically turn off lights in unoccupied rooms. Currently Cincinnati’s City Hall is using a similar system that has greatly reduced energy costs. The Cincinnati Schools’ Pleasant Ridge Elementary School will also have photovoltaic panels, which convert solar energy into electricity. Saving energy with heating and cooling systems is also a concern. All the new and renovated Cincinnati Schools will have central air systems. The article states that, “Air conditioned classrooms prevent pollution from outside, and in the end, help asthmatic children breathe easier, he says. And moisture from hot, humid days can also cause ceiling pads to buckle or gym floors to sag”

Another area the article talks about is indoor air pollution. Cincinnati Schools’ Pleasant Ridge Elementary School project is using less carpet in the design in order to help reduce pollutants indoors. Plans for reducing the amount of water use in the Cincinnati Schools’ would also be based on sensors that detect movement around sinks and toilets. The article comments on the concerns that the Cincinnati Schools’ Pleasant Ridge Elementary School project has in this area. The main concern is in using faucets that have an automatic shut off system or a push button system.