High Performance Schools are a key component in the drive toward zero net energy buildings. Schools are symbolic of what we value as a society and the decision to embrace sustainability in the field of school construction is an indicator of our cultural priorities. Long after builders have come and gone, schools will continue to serve their purpose of communicating sustainable design principles. Tangible building attributes such as daylighting, automated fixtures, or photovoltaics allow for the school building itself to be used as a teaching tool. Further, a school’s high occupancy profile presents a unique opportunity to deliver these values, not only to students, but also faculty, staff, and the community at large.
In support of productive, efficient and healthy learning environments, NEEP has led development of the Northeast Collaborative for High Performance Schools (NE-CHPS) Criteria. The criteria--which was originally developed in California and subsequently adapted to fit the building codes, climate, and educational priorities of the Northeast--is a prescriptive roadmap for sustainable school design. It contains categories including integrated planning, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, site selection, and materials management. A handout is available here.
NE-CHPS is available as a standard for school construction and major renovation projects throughout the Northeast. The Rhode Island Department of Education also requires NE-CHPS for all new construction projects, or renovations costing more than $500,000. Additionally, the New Hampshire Department of Education will verify any NE-CHPS schools built in its state.
NEEP also supports the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools initiative. The Green Ribbon Schools program honors schools that exceed in reducing environmental impact and costs, improving the health and wellness of students and staff, and providing effective environmental and sustainability education.