12 Noon via Zoom
Wednesday September 15th
The Case for Green Schools
Right now in Manitoba, we hear a lot about how our schools will be managed, but little about the buildings our kids will be learning in.
The school building is an important site of environmental exposure for children. Research suggests that there are significant health and learning benefits for students attending “green schools”: schools that are built to last and fill classrooms with natural light and freshly-circulated air, in addition to being energy-efficient. Speaker Donna Vakalis will bring together findings from multiple areas of research to outline the evidence for benefits, and identify potential pitfalls in school design.
In the era of COVID-19, ventilation is of key importance. Matthew Froese will review the ventilation recommendations for schools from ASHRAE for operation during the pandemic, and how those recommendations relate to established best practices for school ventilation. He’ll also share lessons learned from commissioning green schools in Manitoba and how our climate affects appropriate local solutions.
Lindsay Oster will provide an overview of Prairie Architects Inc.'s contribution to the landscape of sustainable schools in Manitoba, with specific focus on design features and performance metrics. Key projects such as the award-winning, LEED Platinum Certified Amber Trails Community School, as well as more recently designed and constructed school buildings will be discussed.
Amber Trail principal Lorelei Bunkowsky will share how she became involved in sustainable schools, how she encouraged participation by students, staff, and parents, and the resulting user experiences. Lorelei will also touch on some of the lasting benefits that she witnessed in the school environment.
In 2017, Amber Trails Community School in Winnipeg won the Greenest School in Canada competition hosted by CaGBC. Under the Green Building Policy enacted by the province in 2007, 11 high-performance sustainable schools were constructed in Manitoba. These schools use an average of 50-70% less energy per year compared to conventional designs. A preliminary report suggests that just four of these new-generation green schools save 484 tonnes of carbon per year and significantly reduce operating costs at the same time.
For more background on the state of green schools, read SBM’s op-ed on the topic.
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