Green School Pioneers


For schools to receive LEED certification, facilities must be sustainable and the builders must recycle or reuse debris from any buildings that were demolished. That is how part of an old building became the base for the parking lot at Northland Pines High School.

Before demolishing the facility, contractors and residents of Eagle River, Wis., removed salvageable fixtures, lighting, and wooden beams. The rest of the debris was used in materials for the school’s parking lot and access road. In the end, more than 80 percent of construction waste was kept out of the landfill, says Mark Hanson, director of sustainable services for Hoffman LLC, a firm that specializes in green projects.

The builders also chose construction products made partly of recycled materials. When possible, materials were purchased locally to cut down on transportation.

Northland Pines received LEED’s prestigious gold certification—the second of four tiers—for the recycling efforts as well as careful site and facility planning. Architects sought to maximize natural light and used low-voltage lighting where needed. Outside, planners preserved open spaces with native vegetation and built a system to collect and reuse rain water.

Since it opened, the school has implemented a green-cleaning program and integrates green lessons into its curriculum.

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