The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 11, 2002


School studies 'green' design

The school community learned about ways to create "green" buildings at an informational talk hosted by the school building committee last week. Warren Leon, executive director of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, defined "green" buildings as being both environmentally and people-friendly, as well as energy-efficient.

At the September 30 meeting, some suggestions outlined for school buildings included using durable, non-toxic materials that are high in recycled content. Leon also pointed to studies that indicate interior spaces with natural light promote better health and improve people's moods, while good indoor air quality reduces problems with asthma and increases school attendance.

Efficient buildings also benefit the environment because they save energy and water. School buildings that are well-designed can teach students what their community values, Leon said, demonstrating that the town cares about the environment and about public health.

Structures designed to use energy and water efficiently cost less to maintain and operate. While much emphasis is put on the cost of new construction in building projects, Leon said operating costs are just as important.

This summer the school building committee announced that the Carlisle School was awarded a $20,000 grant for design of energy-efficient school buildings from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), the state's development agency for renewable energy. The grant money is being used to help fund the second school feasibility study currently underway with SMMA architects. The study, approved by the fall 2001 Town Meeting, will analyze building sites for a possible second school and also look into ways to expand the existing school to accommodate projected increasing enrollments.

In collaboration with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the state School Building Assistance Program also reimburses schools an additional two percent for building green schools, said Leon.

The school building committee plans to apply for an additional grant from the Collaborative Green Schools Initiative at a later date. From 2003 to 2005, the MTC will award ten grants to school districts, five for new school construction and five for school renovation projects, with grants ranging from $130,000 for additional design work to $500,000 for construction costs. The $20,000 early stage feasibility study grants are to the first 40 schools who apply to MTC.

Additional information can be found on the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative website,

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito