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Division of the Sate Architect

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Flex Your Power!
 The Division of the State Architect's Sustainable Schools Resource


The design, construction, and maintenance of buildings have a tremendous impact on our environment and our natural resources, but those impacts don't have to be negative if we use the right techniques. Sustainable building practices offer an opportunity to create environmentally sound and resource-efficient buildings by using an integrated approach to design. High performance schools promote energy, water and material efficiency; consider environmental impacts and waste minimization; create a healthy and comfortable environment; reduce operation and maintenance costs; and address issues such as historical preservation, access to public transportation and other community infrastructure systems. The entire life-cycle of the building and its components are considered, as well as the economic and environmental impact and performance.

Use the following guidelines to achieve some or all of the high performance goals mentioned above. Below, the guidelines are organized into two categories: Holistic or Whole-Building Approach and Topic Specific Approach. Integrating the guidelines' principles is key to achieving sustainability in high performance schools.

Two Guideline Approaches

Holistic or Whole-Building Guidelines
Topic Specific Guidelines


Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)

Best Practices Manuel Volume I: Planning
Best Practices Manual Volume II: Design
Best Practices Manual Volume III: Criteria
Best Practices Manual Volume IV: Maintenance and Operations (M & O)
CHPS is a collaborative of state agencies, utilities, and non-profits formed to implement high performance practices into new school construction in California. The organization has written three volumes of a Best Practices Manual and is currently drafting a fourth. Best Practices Manual Volume I is directed towards school district administrators and planners to aid them in the process of planning high performance schools. Best Practices Manual Volume II is directed at architects and engineers to aid in the design process and includes systems, designs, and material products. Best Practices Manual Volume III describes the criteria that CHPS uses to measure high performance schools. Best Practices Manual Volume IV focuses on maintenance and operations to help improve the environmental performance and health of schools.

Sustainable Building Industry Council ($ must be purchased $)

High Performance School Buildings Resource and Strategy Guide
These guidelines help school administrators and planners hire architects and engineers who have knowledge of green building practices, and are able to create schools that fully realize their green design potential "without breaking the bank".

Poudre School District (PSD), Colorado
Sustainable Design Guidelines

PSD's Sustainable Design Guidelines contain specific recommendations for incorporating eleven features of sustainability into their recommendations for school facilities. Case studies are scattered throughout, and a directory of other tools and resources is provided.

University of Minnesota
Minnesota Sustainable Design Guide
This document contains approximately 50 strategies for creating sustainable buildings and categorizes these strategies into six categories - site, water, energy, indoor environment, materials, and waste. This document also contains a scoring system and performance indicators that must be achieved to earn points.

North Carolina - Triangle J Council of Governments
High Performance Guidelines: Triangle Region Public Facilities, Version 1.0
These guidelines where modeled after LEED 2.0 and have an associated point system. The guidelines address the topics of quality management, site, water, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environment, and innovation.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Guidelines for creating High Performance Green Buildings|6787|
This document presents information on green design systems and processes, with case studies and reference sections. Each system and process section contains a checklist of considerations for "greening" facilities.

City of New York - Department of Design and Construction
High Performance Building Guidelines
This three-part document includes high performance objectives, benefits, and technical strategies for meeting the objectives.

Topic Specific Guidelines


California Department of Education
School Site Analysis and Development Guidelines
This document updates site size standards to reflect changes in education such as class size reduction, implementation of Title IX gender equity, technology, and parental and community involvement.

Department of Toxic Substances Control - Schools Property Evaluation and Cleanup Division
DTSC's Schools Property Evaluation and Cleanup Division is responsible for assessing, investigating and cleaning-up proposed school property sites. The Division ensures that selected properties are free of contamination or, if the properties were previously contaminated, that they have been cleaned-up to a level that protects the students and faculty who will occupy the new school. Their web site contains many guidelines and recommendations for schools with potential contamination on site and how to avoid future contamination.

Indoor Air Quality

California Department of Health Services
Reducing Occupant Exposure to VOCs From Office Building Construction Materials: Non-binding Guidelines
This set of guidelines, created by DHS, makes available numerous resources concerning indoor air quality, including this report on reducing VOCs through product selection.

Environmental Protection Agency
Indoor Air Quality - Tools For Schools
Tools for Schools shows schools how to carry out a practical plan of action to improve indoor air problems at little or no cost using straightforward activities and in-house staff.


Department of Energy
Energy Design Guidelines for High Performance Schools
DOE has developed Energy Resources guidelines for high performance schools that encompass site design, daylighting and windows, energy efficient building shells, lighting and electrical systems, mechanical and ventilation systems, renewable energy systems, water conservation, recycling and waste management, transportation, and resource-efficient building products. There are separate guidelines for each of the 7 climate zones in the U.S., with checklists of key design issues and case studies.

Alliance to Save Energy
Green Schools Project. The Green Schools program is specifically geared toward school districts looking to make their existing buildings more efficient. The website offers helpful guidelines for starting a program. Also available through the website are free materials that include key learning concepts for green schools, an annotated bibliography of green schools instructional resources, curriculum materials, and information about ways to save energy in schools. The Alliance to Save Energy produces a green schools newsletter and organizes the "Earth Apple Awards" - prizes for schools that use energy efficiently.


National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF)
Lighting for Schools
NCEF's guidelines for lighting include information on daylighting and energy efficient lighting systems.

The Watt Stopper Inc.
Lighting Control Best Practice Guide
Recently published in 2002, the Lighting Control Best Practice Guide illustrates lighting control soltuions for every school building space.

HVAC Systems

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE) ($ Purchase Required)
"The HVAC Commissioning Process"

ASHRAE's Guideline 1-1996 details the process for insuring that HVAC performance properly coincides with design intent.


California Department of Water Resources
A Guide to Estimating Irrigation Water Needs of Landscape Plantings in California
This publication includes two important tools for estimation irrigation water needs. The first section of this guide details the Landscape Coefficient Method, a method of estimating irrigation needs of landscape plantings in California. Part two presents WUCOLS III (Water Use Classification of Landscape Species), a list intended to help landscape professionals identify irrigation water needs of landscape species and create compatible hydrozones during the design phase.

California Department of Health Services - Recycled Water Unit
Resource documents and guidelines for the purpose of onsite water recycling. website) to create a new generation of high performance school facilities in California.

California Urban Water Conservation Counsel ($ Purchase Required)
Handbook of Water Use and Conservation

This handbook is a comprehensive, authoritative, and state-of-the-art reference for water use, conservation, and the growing array of efficiency measures to help meet future water needs.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG)
This website contains information on the CPG and EPA's Recovered Materials Advisory Notices (RMANs), which recommend recycled-content levels for CPG items.

California Department of Health Services
Reducing Occupant Exposure to VOCs From Office Building Construction Materials: Non-binding Guidelines
This set of guidelines, created by DHS, makes available numerous resources concerning indoor air quality, including this report on reducing VOCs through product selection.

California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB)
Green Building Materials
CIWMB's website provides a discussion and recommendations on material use and choice for sustainable building projects as well as products directories that identify products with environmentally beneficial attributes.


California Air Resources Board - Lower Emissions School Bus Program
The ARB staff, in coordination with the California Energy Commission and the local air pollution control districts, has developed guidelines for this program that provides criteria for the purchase of new school buses and retrofits of existing school buses to reduce particulate matter emissions. The goal of the program is to replace older buses with safe and clean new buses and clean up in-use buses. This will reduce school children's exposure to harmful diesel exhaust emissions.


City of Santa Monica Green Building Design Program
Construction Guidelines Commissioning
This site includes a thorough overview and description of commissioning as well as pages on required/suggested practices, commissioning plans, equipment testing, operation and maintenance training, and commissioning reports.

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE)
The HVAC Commissioning Process
ASHRAE's Guideline 1-1996 details the process for insuring that HVAC performance properly coincides with design intent.

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