The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recognized the state of Ohio and the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) on the LEED certification of the 100th public school building in the state. Ohio leads the country with more LEED-certified public schools than any other state, with hundreds more in the LEED pipeline.
“The OSFC and the entire state of Ohio are national leaders in creating healthy, sustainable schools,” said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. "Since 2007, we've watched the OSFC successfully grow a program that shows LEED is working for Ohio — these schools are saving money, energy and resources. Ohio shows a deep commitment to the well-being of its students, teachers and communities through the use of LEED.”
LEED is the world’s premier benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. Since 2007, the OSFC has required the design of each school building it funds to at least seek LEED Silver certification, with the goal of achieving Gold. Monroe Central High School of the Switzerland of Ohio Local School District in Monroe County became the 100th public education facility in Ohio to achieve LEED, receiving a Silver certification. Of the 100 certifications, 44 schools have exceeded LEED Silver, earning LEED Gold or Platinum.
Other notable LEED-certified schools include London Middle School of the London City School District in Madison County, which was the first LEED Platinum school in the state and boasts a 40 percent reduction in water usage and 42 percent energy savings. Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School in Cincinnati became the first public high school in the state to receive LEED Platinum certification. Cloverleaf Elementary School in Medina County earned LEED Silver, which “shows taxpayers that the district is energy conscious,” according to Superintendent Daryl Kubilu.
OSFC Executive Director Richard Hickman called today’s announcement “exciting, and certainly a statement on how Ohio has embraced environmentally friendly design. These projects, which represent a commitment to both our schoolchildren and the future of our environment, are the direct result of innovative teamwork from architects, construction managers, trade contractors and our project partners, the local school districts. I commend them for their accomplishments.”
Ohio is the recognized nationwide leader in sustainable school design, with more than 300 total schools either registered or certified through LEED. On average, Ohio’s first 100 certified schools have been designed to use 35 percent less energy and an average of 37 percent less water than comparable buildings constructed and operated to traditional standards. In addition, these schools provide healthier indoor environments conducive to learning.
Healthy, sustainable schools are in demand throughout the United States. A recently released independent national survey from the Center for Green Schools at USGBC and United Technologies Corp. revealed that three out of four Americans are supportive of green schools and 90 percent of Americans think it is important to improve public school buildings.
Additionally, the use of LEED has had a positive economic impact on Ohio and surrounding states. All OSFC projects using LEED encourage the use of products and materials that are harvested, manufactured and/or produced within a 500-mile radius of the project, supporting nearby economies. On average, nearly 35 percent of building materials for these schools was procured from regional sources, and 22 percent of the schools’ building materials contain recycled content. The 100 schools have also diverted more than 188,114 tons and 57,565 cubic yards of construction waste from Ohio landfills.
“We applaud the OSFC for embracing the challenge to make better buildings for Ohio’s schoolchildren,” says Tyler Steele, chair of the USGBC Central Ohio Chapter. “Like any taxpayer, I encourage responsible use of public money. LEED makes sense because it is a third-party-verified system that encourages energy efficiency, conservation of resources and support for Ohio’s economy through incentives for locally sourced materials. This policy, and these investments in people, products and process, are a driving force behind innovation and the continued growth of Ohio's economy."