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Green Schools: Resource Guide

Green Schools: Resource Guide

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Published by paceminterris
A Practical Resource for Planning and Building Green Schools in Ontario
A Practical Resource for Planning and Building Green Schools in Ontario

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Published by: paceminterris on Nov 07, 2012
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Green operation and maintenance is critical to

meeting green performance targets. The school’s

energy and water use, indoor environmental

quality, waste reduction, and the green design

choices made in the design stage can all be

signifcantly affected by how the school is

operated and maintained. Even the best designed

and installed system is only as good as its

operation and maintenance. This is especially true

for energy effcient systems. Thus maintenance

has an important role to ensure that high

effciency systems deliver high effciency results.

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) can beneft

from developing an IEQ management plan that

includes the use of green cleaning compounds,

regular cleaning schedules, spill response and

integrated pest control systems. Waste reduction

can be greatly affected by maintenance.

Energy Effciency

One third of actual energy savings is attributable

to operation and maintenance. Uninformed

operation that that ignores established set points

and shut down periods and does not refect

the design intent can have a negative effect on

system performance. Clogged flters, worn slack

belts, ceased dampers, and other maintenance

issues can all rob an HVAC system of effciency.

A well maintained and operated system can

run several points above the expected energy

effciency. However, a poorly operated and

maintained system can run, in some cases, 30%

below expected energy effciency. It is important

that maintenance staff understand the design

intent and target effciencies, are fully trained,

and implement the manufacturer recommended

maintenance schedule.

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

Maintaining a healthy indoor environment requires

a plan. Chemicals used for cleaning, areas of

high humidity, build up of dust or other allergens,

uncontrolled spills of hazardous substances and

unchecked pest populations have all been linked

to negative health affects in students and staff.

Below are listed green maintenance measures

schools should consider.

• Review Heath Canada’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

- for Schools Guide

The IAQ Guide for schools is an easy to follow

comprehensive guide to methods and procedures

to create the conditions for and maintain high IAQ

in schools. The guide underlines that good IAQ is

everyone’s responsibility and spells out roles for

caretaking staff, teachers, designers, contractors,

and administration staff. The guide covers

topics of: Administration, Health, Air Handling,

Classrooms, Relocatable Classroom, Building

Maintenance, Custodial, Food Service, Waste

Management, Renovation and Repair, and Design/

Build/Lease-Back Facilities. The Guide is available

at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/air/










• Green Cleaning Supplies

The maintenance department should consider

using green cleaning supplies. Many large

suppliers now offer green lines at little if any

extra charge. Look for products that have been

certifed as green by either EcoLogo, Green

Seal, or CHIPS “Good for Schools” list. Refer

to the product’s MSD sheet and avoid the most

hazardous materials (e.g., acid toilet bowl cleaner,

disinfectant and foor fnish stripper) and those

with the most volatile ingredients (e.g., sodium

hypochlorite, 2-butoxyethanol, phthalates and

ethanolamine). Place a preference on products that

are: biodegradable; non toxic; water based; not

in a sealed aerosol spray can; produce minimal or

no irritation to skin, eyes or respiratory system; are

not corrosive or highly fammable; concentrated;

and work optimally in room temperature water.

Whatever products are used, ensure staff are

trained to correctly store, mix and use them.

• Exterior Envelope and Building Systems

Regularly inspect exterior envelope for

moisture penetration, particularly around wall

penetrations and where uninsulated materials

may come in contact with cold outside air. HVAC

systems should also be examined for moisture

(from the exterior or condensation), dust or

other contaminates. Water systems should be

regularly checked for chemical levels to prevent

microbe growth.

• Integrated Pest Control

Integrated Pest Control (IPC) methods use

physical means to control pest populations and

use chemical treatments only as a last resort. This

benefts IEQ by control allergens associated with

pests while avoiding the use of toxic products.

The frst step in using IPC is to keep pests out

-seal all cracks and holes on the outside. Next,

remove pest food sources – by constant cleaning

and separation of food waste for storage in sealed

containers. Remove pest shelter – keep spaces

free of nesting habitat use open shelving and clean

regularly. Keep records – note pest sightings. target

problem pests - frst use non-chemical methods,

such as traps and vacuums. For persistent pest

problems, work with a pest control professional to

select the least-toxic pesticides.

Waste Reduction

Waste reduction can be effected on two levels:

waste generated through school operations (e.g.

lunch waste or paper) and waste generated due

to the replacement of worn building materials.

During the programming and design phase, at-

source waste separation should be considered

and given dedicated space both in millwork

receptacles and a central collection place for all

sources in the building.

Green Design

Proper Operation and Maintenance is crucial to the

success of any green school. Early in the design

stages - if trade-offs can be found – signifcant

capital costs can be offset by maintenance

savings. These trade-offs can be identifed

through completing a Life Cycle Cost assessment.

Components such as exterior cladding and roofng,

foor and ceiling fnishes should be subject to a life-

cycle cost assessment. Even simply transferring

staff duties can add to the green opportunities.

For example, if linoleum is used for foor covering

instead of VCT, summer foor waxing and stripping

is not required. This resource can be reassigned

to other initiatives such as exterior maintenance or

increased shade planting.









4.1.2 Integrating Green into the
School Curriculum

As cited in the EcoChampions case study below,

environmental features need not be passive, but

can actively engage students and the curriculum.

Other examples include learning gardens that

occupy once-dead spaces of parking lots and

rooftops that provide environmental and teaching

opportunities. The ways in which a green school

can be linked to curriculum or used as a teaching

opportunity are limited only by the imagination.

Including the building users (staff and students)

in the design phases of a project will increase

the learning opportunities that are identifed and

incorporated into the design.

In Go Green, Ontario’s Action Plan On Climate

Change, the Government of Ontario states that

“Educating Ontario’s primary and secondary

school students about the environment is a

priority for the government.” The Bondar Working

Group, headed by astronaut and scientist

Dr. Roberta Bondar, was convened by the

province to study ways to enhance students’

understanding of these issues through the

provincial curriculum.

Among the group’s recommendations was

that schools should integrate environmental

education into “all subjects in all grades” and

work more closely with “community partners

and other government ministries to enhance

environmental education”.

An example of this kind of partnership is York

University’s Ontario EcoSchools project, an

environmental education program that addresses

how schools are run and what students

learn, with a focus on student success “in

both academics and positive contributions to

society”. In fact, one of its four key purposes

is to “align what is taught in classrooms with

school operations”. Ontario EcoSchools can

provide educational resources and guides to

reduce energy use, minimize waste, and design

environmentally-friendly school grounds, while

providing opportunities for student and staff

participation outside the classroom to reinforce

classroom learning. It can already be shown that

Certifed EcoSchools use 12% less electricity

and 7% less natural gas than comparable non-

Certifed EcoSchools.









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