Monday, March 26, 2007

Maryland Gets First "Green" School

Great Seneca Creek Elementary School, in Germantown (Montgomery County), is the first school in Maryland built to meet the US Green Building Council's LEED standards. In fact, in November, the Montgomery County Council passed legislation that would require all new public buildings be built to green standards. Given rising energy costs and increasing concerns about carbon dioxide emissions, it seems entirely appropriate for Anne Arundel County to adopt similar standards.

Democrats in the legislature are trying to earmark 1% of the $400 million spent annually by the State on school construction for grants to "green" projects. Apparently though, some at the State level, like House Minority leader, Del. Anthony O'Donnell don't get the fact that spending an extra 2% at the time of construction will save that value to taxpayers many times over during the lifespan of these buildings.

With a $1.5 billion backlog in school maintenance locally, there are enormous opportunities to save county residents millions of dollars by stipulating that new construction projects utilize the most energy efficient technologies available.

Among the schools "green" features:
  • A geothermal heat pump.
  • Extensive passive solar features.
  • Dual flush, water conserving toilets. Waterless urinals
  • Wheat board, rather than wood, book shelves.
  • Fluorescent lighting.
  • A light reflecting roof.

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