Green Schools

When Global Green expanded its effort in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, schools became a critical component of rebuilding efforts. The goal of this initiative was to create healthier classrooms and more energy efficient schools that in turn improve student performance and save money for school districts, while helping to protect the environment and reducing carbon emissions.

Andrew H. Wilson Charter School before...

Andrew H. Wilson Charter School before...

... and after

... and after

Shortly after the Bush Clinton Katrina Fund (BCKF) grant was announced in 2006, the Louisiana Recovery Authority contacted Global Green and requested that the organization draft a green rebuilding policy for all major school renovations and new schools in Louisiana, whether flood damaged or not. Global Green accepted the State’s request, and worked with green building experts and representatives of the insurance industry to craft a comprehensive green schools policy for Louisiana. In January of 2007, the LRA voted to incorporate Global Green’s policy into its guidelines for schools receiving Community Development Block Grants.

In addition to creating guidelines for the state, Global Green committed to use a portion of its BCKF funds to give three green schools workshops around the state, targeting the regions that were most impacted by the 2005 hurricane season. Workshops were successfully completed in Orleans Parish, Cameron Parish, and East Baton Rouge Parish, which had grown significantly as a result of population migration after the 2005 hurricanes.

Global Green drafted a Green Schools Resolution that was passed unanimously by the City Council in May 2008. Finally, Global Green formally partnered with New Orleans’ Recovery School District (RSD) in 2007, offering guidelines and ongoing technical assistance. The guidelines were incorporated into the master plan for Orleans Parish Public Schools, which supports the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard for all of its new school facilities and major renovation projects.

Student at Martin Luther King Elementary School

Student at Martin Luther King Elementary School

Green Seed Schools
The Green Seed Schools program was the first component of the Green Schools Initiative. Four schools were selected and designated as Green Seed Schools: A.P. Tureaud Elementary School, The International School, Dr. Martin Luther King Elementary School, and Gentilly Terrace Elementary School. Each school received up to $75,000 in grant funds toward energy audits, technical assistance, and improvements to increase energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and if feasible, create on-site renewable energy generation. The average annual savings seen by the Green Seed Schools is $23,000.

Green Model Schools
The Model Green Schools program was the second and more ambitious phase of the NOLA Green Schools Initiative. This program has resulted in the creation of high performance showcase green schools including the major rehabilitation of one school and the new construction of another school.

The two Model Green Schools received more than $720,000 (combined) worth of green upgrades and technical assistance with a goal of achieving LEED for Schools Silver certification. The Model Green Schools program allowed for a comprehensive menu of improvements that contributed to model green environmental conditions in the building such as improved acoustics, lighting, and indoor air quality, and greater reductions in water and energy use. The two schools selected for this program were Andrew H. Wilson Elementary School and L.B. Landry High School.

Case Study, Andrew H. Wilson Elementary School:
The Andrew H. Wilson Elementary School sustained significant damage from wind and flood waters due to Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures. It is the only school in the Broadmoor neighborhood and it was designed by E.A. Christy and constructed in 1928. 

Andrew H. Wilson Elementary School

Andrew H. Wilson Elementary School

The Wilson project included a complete restoration of the existing building which is approximately 37,000 sf and two additions totaling 43,000 sf. The new building additions include a gymnasium, cafeteria, and additional art and music classroom space. The existing building was renovated to modern standards while preserving the historical characteristics of the original building.

As a showcase green school, the Wilson Elementary School building incorporates more than 40 specific green measures to enhance the building's energy efficiency and student performance. Among these green technologies are:

  • Solar Hot Water system installed above the kitchen to serve 90% of the hot water demand for the kitchen as well as a 5.04 kW solar electric system.
  • 12,000-gallon above ground cistern to collect and store rainwater for irrigation purposes.
  • Web-based display technology that illustrates energy and water usage. The school will be able to use the data for educational purposes and to monitor carbon offset.
  • Wetland habitat with 90% native species which serves as an outdoor educational classroom and to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of stormwater leaving the site.
  • Interpretive signage posted in and around the school to identify and provide information about the school's green technology.
Solar installation on Wilson Elementary School

Solar installation on Wilson Elementary School

Global Green was proud to take this next step in helping New Orleans build green and feels that the Wilson School will not only serve as an important model for all of the rebuilding of schools in the city, but it will also be a stimulus for rebuilding Broadmoor in a sustainable way.