Erica Cardenas

Schoolhouse goes green

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Roadrunner Elementary School in Phoenix is the first of 18 schools nationwide to be part of the Green Schoolhouse Series (GSHS) that creates environmentally sustainable and LEED Platinum-certified facilities.

GSHS, in collaboration with CAUSE AND EFFECT Evolutions and Washington Elementary School District, broke ground on the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum-designed schoolhouse built entirely by volunteers on the campus of Roadrunner Elementary School last month. 

The 6,000-square-foot project in Phoenix will be the launching pad of state-of-the-art green schoolhouses on campuses across the country. The schoolhouse at Roadrunner, named Safari, will be a teaching tool, educating the students and community members on the importance of sustainable living and building practices. 

Safari’s sustainable features include a solar rooftop system, STEM-devoted (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) classroom, rainwater harvesting capabilities, interactive white boards, an outdoor classroom and native gardens.

“We are thrilled to see everyone’s efforts come together to begin construction on our first schoolhouse,” said Marshall G. Zotara, cofounder and senior managing partner of CAUSE AND EFFECT Evolutions. “Not only will the students benefit from learning in a healthier classroom setting, Safari will also serve as an integral part of the surrounding community.”

Features and sponsors of the schoolhouse include:

  • Rainwater harvesting system – Brae 
  • Solar roof system – Empire Renewable Energy 
  • Native green garden – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
  • Eco-friendly windows – Pella Corporation 
  • STEM classroom – DeVry University 
  • Schoolhouse kitchen – Kraft Foods and IGA 
  • Energy efficient fans – Rite-Hite Fans 
  • State-of-the-art water bottle refilling stations – Elkay 
  • No VOC paint – Glidden

The project is a collaboration of corporations, school districts, foundations, municipalities, communities and volunteers to build environmentally sustainable schoolhouses on existing Title I, low-income, K-12 public school campuses. 

A complementary aspect of the program is to integrate sustainable education and gardens into the overall Green Schoolhouse project, so that these schools are green and healthy inside and out.

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