Sustainable Buildings: A Wise Investment in Learning
$3.1 billion is a lot of money! That's how much North Carolina voters set aside last November for construction and renovation in the 16-campus UNC System and the state's 59 community colleges. When county tax bonds are added to that sum, well over $4 billion will be invested in schools across NC over the next few years. And that's why Advanced Energy's Phil Bisesi says that officials responsible for building and renovating schools are being brought "up to speed" on sustainable buildings.
What are Sustainable Buildings?
Sustainable buildings are ones that have the least adverse affect on the built and surrounding natural environment. They are buildings designed and built to perform both now and in the future. Bisesi is quick to point out that the performance of a sustainable building is not just a matter of big savings from energy efficiency. "They help students perform and stay healthy. Studies are showing that sustainable schools can improve test scores, students' ability to concentrate, attendance levels, and even dental health." That's the message that Bisesi and others are delivering to decision-makers who control school construction and renovation.
Getting the Word Out
Unfortunately, sustainable building is not the norm for North Carolina schools today. That's why Advanced Energy has joined forces with statewide and regional groups to promote wise investment of tax dollars. Partners include the NC Energy Office, the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the NC Department of Public Instruction, the UNC system, the community college system, Councils of Governments, and utility companies. Unless decision-makers become aware of the advantages of sustainable buildings, most construction will follow traditional building practices. Fortunately, Councils of Governments agreed to coordinate awareness seminars for elected officials and managers at various locations throughout the state.
Keeping It Simple
There are many facets of sustainable buildings — too many to mention here — and each is important in its own right. For starters, Advanced Energy suggests taking aim at three facets that have already proved their worth, in terms of improved building and student performance, at various locations across North Carolina. When tax dollars are being plunked down onto drawing boards, serious consideration needs to be given to:
For More Information
Contact Advanced Energy at (919) 857-9000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.