Verrado High School
School buildings often become iconic by the very nature of their presence and role within our communities. In the case of Verrado High School, a LEED Silver registered school and model for other facilities seeking green-building standards, the goal was not only to educate its students academically, but to demonstrate, by example, its endeavor to successfully launch qualified citizens into our communities. By embracing green building, Agua Fria Union High School District created opportunities to educate students, district faculty and the general public about the potential impact of sustainability on our society. Local building materials such as bricks, concrete and grout were used to reduce fuel consumption generated by transporting materials to the site. The locally procured clay brick consumed much less energy to manufacture than would concrete block for a similar masonry building. Structural steel used on the project was 99 percent recycled and manufactured and fabricated locally.
Over fifty percent of all waste materials generated on site were diverted from landfills by separating materials, such as metals, inert material, organic materials, plastic, and general trash for recycling. To reduce off-gassing of harmful chemicals, the project utilized recyclable carpet with low volatile organic compound (VOC) backing and fibers, furniture built from recycled formaldehyde-free materials, as well as floor finishes, adhesives and paints that do not emit VOCs. Employing natural and low chemical use products in the design, construction and maintenance of the building is a testimony of the schools commitment to the environment.
Techniques that reduce utility consumption were incorporated, including low water flow faucets, waterless urinals, occupancy sensing electric lighting, window shading, energy efficient heating ventilation and air conditioning equipment, and extensive use of natural lighting. Estimated resource savings include 29 percent in energy or about $42,000 per year, and 700,000 gallons a year in water usage. Verrado, now it its third year of operation, has proven to be the lowest energy consumption school in the District, using about two-thirds of the electrical energy of similar sized conventional high school campuses.