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Green Mountain Valley School's library and day student center has been awarded LEED Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED is the USGBC's leading rating system for designing and constructing the world's greenest, most energy efficient and high performing buildings, and the GMVS building is 1 of only 16 buildings currently certified in the state of Vermont. To date, GMVS is the only K-12 school in the state to achieve LEED certification.
"We are really proud of the choices we made constructing our library and day student center," says Tim Harris, assistant headmaster of the school and project manager for the construction of the library. "The whole GMVS community was invested in the process: Students, parents and staff all contributed to researching and making decisions that impacted our green building choices, and all of our contractors were committed to honoring those choices and thinking creatively about any challenges we faced. Two of our alumni parents, were critical to our success: In addition to Mac Rood who designed the building for us, John Stetson, of Engleberth Construction, worked tirelessly as a consultant for us throughout the process. We are a very small organization compared to the others who have achieved certification in Vermont; to accomplish something like this, we needed the effort of our entire community and we are grateful to have received so much volunteer support."
Kerry Litchfield, who coordinated the LEED process for the school, added, "Choosing to build green was in part about making environmentally sound decisions, but also we wanted our construction project to be a curriculum component for our students as well. The LEED process helped us create a hands-on application for environmental concepts like carbon footprints, recycling, water-use reduction and energy efficiency. The building really mobilized our teachers to find ways to incorporate environmental education into their particular disciplines."
The GMVS library and day student center was designed by Mac Rood of Bast and Rood Architects, Hinesburg, to achieve LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. LEED verifies environmental performance, occupant health and financial return. LEED was established for market leaders to design and construct buildings that protect and save precious resources while also making good economic sense.
"Green Mountain Valley School's LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council.
LEED certification of the GMVS library and day student center was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community. These features include:
• Demonstrated commitment to supporting alternative transportation methods
• Commitment to maintaining vegetated open space equivalent to nearly half the project's site area
• Water use reduction through the inclusion of water-efficient bathroom fixtures that use 45 percent less potable water than standard fixtures
• Commitment to using renewable energy demonstrated through the use of Renewable Energy Credits totaling 75 percent of the building's total annual electricity usage for at least one year
• Reuse of 95 percent of the existing building structure within renovation and new construction, made possible by careful demolition and exhaustive recycling efforts from contractors
• Commitment to Indoor Environmental Quality demonstrated by:
• Attention to an Indoor Air Quality Management Plan during construction
• A mechanical ventilation system that monitors indoor air quality based on CO2 levels
• A mechanical system to regulate thermal comfort for building occupants
• Use of low-emitting materials including all construction adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, and carpet systems
• Design features that guarantee natural daylighting for over 80 percent of regularly occupied spaces and views for 90 percent of regularly occupied spaces