Lutz, Florida – Learning Gate Community School has been known for receiving A’s on its annual report cards. Soon the school will be recognized for its color: green.
School officials believe Learning Gate has enough points to place it in the Platinum level for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designs” (LEED’s). If that happens, the school would be just the third campus in the entire country to receive that recognition, and the first in Florida.
The school just finished installing solar panels on one of the buildings. This will cut the school’s TECO Energy power bill by an estimated seven percent. This project, along with all of the others, should give Learning Gate enough points for the Platinum level in the LEED’s for Schools Project.
Last year they installed an energy management system that monitors all the energy use on campus and automatically adjusts to the outside temperatures as well as what’s going on in the classroom. If there has been no movement inside a room for five minutes, the lights go out. Speaking of the lights, they adjust to the brightness outside, so on a sunny day they might only be on at 20 percent, if it gets cloudy later on they will increase their brightness.
The insulation is made from soy beans and the humidity inside the classrooms is automatically adjusted to make the students more comfortable while using less electricity. They also created a rain water runoff system, that catches the water, places it in a bladder underneath a building and uses that water to flush four commodes on campus, saving 36,000 gallons of fresh water every school year.
Principal Patti Girard says that there are more green initiatives in the future. The school is working on funding for an aquatic garden, growing vegetables as well as fish, in one project.
Girard says that all the projects have been funded by parent fundraisers, corporate sponsorship and lots of grant awards.
Bert Moreno, 10 Connects News