The primary goals for the Eco Schoolhouse were 1) to design a new classroom that would have a reduced environmental impact; 2) to increase student and staff health; 3) to increase student performance; and 4) to have the building be a teaching tool on the merits of sustainable design. The result of this design focus prompted the school’s principal and teachers to integrate sustainability into the school curriculum. The following activities have been instituted:
The Snowball Effect
Local utility representatives spoke to students about energy efficiency and sustainability issues
Parents, children and businesses donated time and materials for the garden which has become a National Wildlife Society Certified Wildlife Habitat
All Grant School students participated in creating the “windows” sculpture installed on the south wall above the garden
Fourth graders collaborated on a poem based on their experiences in the garden
Styrofoam lunch trays were replaced with a biodegradable product
The school’s recycling program has expanded
An Eco Club and a Stream Team now focus on environmental issues
Paper consumption at Grant School was reduced
An Eco School House song was written and performed by kids at various community events
A School House Rock event was held to demonstrate “green” school activities
The Eco School House has been on the Missouri Solar Homes Tour for the past 2 years
Partnerships with community groups and business neighbors has reduced the need for parking and increased walking to school
Bike racks were installed to promote alternative transportation.
Of the five adjunct classrooms, the Eco School House had the lowest rate of absenteeism and visits to the nurse. This suggests that the building’s conditions enable better attendance and health, which generally lead to better learning. Additionally, the School District has compared the Eco Schoolhouse’s energy use (at $.67/square foot/year) to 35 of the District’s buildings with energy use ranging from $1.20/s.f./year to $4/s.f./year. They also compared the energy use of this classroom with the use of the standard mobile classroom that it replaced. The Eco School House used only 8,171 kwh in its first year of operation, which is 46% of the energy used by a standard mobile classroom.