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Of course it would be wonderful if all of Oregon's new school projects achieved LEED, but even a full one quarter of projects is pretty amazing! How many other states have even a single LEED school?
I love Oregon.


I typically find this debate over green cost lacking in clarity: hard costs or soft costs. It's incorrect to state pursuing LEED certification has no extra cost - there are admin fees to the Council, fees to architects and engineers to document and submit for LEED, and likely additional design fees to design some of these unique and/or complex systems (whether for a LEED building or just a green one). As an architect I would rather see those fees go into the building's hard costs in the way of materials and systems that could make a code compliant building even more green without killing the budget; or even make a green project pencil out when it might not get built at all if LEED (and it's soft costs) were mandatory.


This question holds for all types of buildings, schools are just an example.

LEED measurementis only part of the bigger equation... what about points for the mix of uses themselves, for addressing the existing social fabric of the community (does this project enhance the existing community?), for creating new concepts and ideas which eliminate more traditional wasteful practices, etc. Obviously, some of these items are difficult, if not near impossible, to quantify. LEED certification is a good tool but it isn't the end all and be all.

Steve L.

LEED scores needs to reward for the reuse of existing structures, and possibly subtract from scores for the destruction of historic structures.

If a district demolishes a school like the Riverdale Doyel to build a new “green” school, that is ironic greenwashing and hurts the green movement

The terrazzo floor you have is greener than the new recycled carpet that will be worn out in 20 years.

Steve L.

Another lesson to learn from Portland’s “green” Rosa Parks School is to plan for population growth. Portland’s two youngest schools, Forest Park School and Rosa Parks School, were both built too small. As a result, PPS had to add portable trailer classrooms to Forest Park just a couple years after opening and at Rosa Parks, PPS had to change the grade configuration just a couple years after opening. The sixth grade at Rosa Parks is now bussed out of the area and the prospects for expanding the school are poor since Rosa Parks was built on such a small lot.

I also feel building a school like Rosa Parks with no outdoor playfield for playing soccer or other team sports and no outdoor study areas is unhealthy and not green.


A lot of the components that go into sustainable design can be incorporated for no cost if done at the right phase in the design. Things like siting, ventilation, daylighting, etc. are all design elements that architects and engineers can design well or can design poorly. A lot of school districts across the country are embracing good, sustainable design without the added expense of documentation and verification which does add to the overall budgetary cost.

I believe that an approach to require LEED certification that is done at the state level will fail. It would put districts in those states that have a requirement at a financial disadvantage to other districts around the country. The real approach should be lobbying, ideally on the part of the AIA, to the ICC to incorporate those sustainable elements into the Building Code that all states have adopted. It should holistically require that the owner commission their systems to ensure they are working properly. They should have higher energy and ventilation requirements. If the code required them then owners would not think twice about having to do them.


Re: John
I'm not sure about Oregon yet, but that is how state buildings in Minnesota are beginning to go. There's the B3 State of Minnesota Sustainable Building Guidelines. Which does apply to state university institutions, and basically anything funded in whole or part by Minnesota bond monies is required to follow it. Last time I checked, it wasn't as stringent or multi-faceted as LEED, though revisions are getting closer and closer, and it's priorities are able to dovetail w/ LEED points fairly comfortably.


If the GSA can do it, we can do it.


Wow, what a great article! I just did some researching and found out some pretty cool stuff pertaining to architecture in classrooms.


Michael Napolitano

I'm sure this is an extremely tough choice to make. It does cost a lot of money, but thinking about the future is the most important thing we can do.

Like the old saying goes "Do it right the first time, or don't do it all."

Vickey Silvers

I am an editor for Christian.com which is a social network dedicated to the christian community. As I look through your web site I feel a collaboration is at hand. I would be inclined to acknowledge your website offering it to our users as I'm sure our Pentecostal audience would benefit from what your site has to offer. I look forward to your thoughts or questions regarding the matter.

Vicky Silvers

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