Green Schoolhouse Series Breaks Ground on First Project

PHOENIX, Ariz. — The Green Schoolhouse Series, a an effort to construct green schoolhouses across the country, kicked off with the groundbreaking of the Roadrunner Elementary School in the Washington Elementary School District — the first LEED Platinum schoolhouse built by volunteers.

In partnership with Cause and Effect Evolutions, the first Greenhouse School Series project is a 6,000-square-foot school in Phoenix, Ariz. It serves as the launching pad for state-of-the-art green schoolhouses across the country on Title 1, low-income, public school campuses.

The Roadrunner schoolhouse, named Safari, is designed as a teaching tool to educate the students and community members about sustainable living and building practices. Sustainable features include a solar rooftop system, rainwater harvesting capabilities, interactive white boards, an outdoor classroom, native gardens and a classroom devoted to science, technology, engineering and math.

“We are thrilled to see everyone’s efforts come together to begin construction on our first schoolhouse,” said Marshall Zotara, co-founder and senior managing partner of Cause and Effect Evolutions. “Not only will the students benefit from learning in a healthier classroom setting, Safari will also serve as an integral part of the surrounding community.”

The site was selected by Brighten a Life, the non-profit organization that is leading the effort. The organization focuses on positively impacting the learning environment, living conditions and communities of disadvantaged children and families. The group works closely with school districts nationwide to identify schools in which a majority of the student body meets Title 1 specifications in low-income areas. Schools that this particular qualification are eligible to apply.

Brighten A Life selects the finalists — and ultimately the future Green Schoolhouse site — based on factors including a track record of or heightened interest in “green” or sustainable curriculum, extent of community involvement on campus, and the ability to maintain a LEED-certified structure.

Phoenix-based architecture firm Stantec designed the Safari schoolhouse, with Greeley, Colo.-based Hensel Phelps as the general contractor and engineering services provided by Phoenix-based Heideman Associates, a member of Zak Companies Inc.

Supplies and Services provided by:
Rainwater harvesting system: Brae
Solar roof system: Empire Renewable Energy
Native green garden: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Eco-friendly windows: Pella Corp.
STEM classroom: DeVry University
Schoolhouse kitchen: Kraft Foods and IGA
Energy efficient fans: Rite-Hite Fans
Water bottle refilling stations: Elkay
No VOC paint: Glidden