Culture Green Classroom Retrofit Creates Learning Lab for Students & School District

Published on September 20th, 2012 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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Green Classroom Retrofit Creates Learning Lab for Students & School District

artist rendering of green classroom for davis magnet school

What gets measured gets managed, right? This longstanding business maxim gets thrown around a lot in green circles: data’s a necessary element of making the case that sustainability makes sense. At Orange County, California’s Davis Magnet School (which focuses on math, science, and technology), measurement’s already present in the curriculum; now, it’s also a part of the school’s efforts to determine if efficiency retrofits make sense for the district’s bottom line and the students’ performance.

In partnership with the local chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and LPA, Inc., a sustainable architecture firm, Davis renovated one of its classrooms as a green “learning lab”… both for students, and for the school district (that’s an artist’s rendering of it above). Students now have a hands-on space for learning about energy efficiency (and, likely, many other related topics); the district can find out whether investing in such retrofits creates financial returns and creates spaces more conducive to student success. They’re taking measurements of the classroom’s performance now, just in time for the Green Apple Day of Service (which focuses on making schools more sustainable).

No doubt this is happening in a more affluent district and school (though all school districts are facing tighter budgets these days). I hope that Orange County will be sharing the data they develop far and wide: it strikes me that poorer districts could really benefit from such retrofits… but also need to make an airtight case (so to speak). Check out the setting for the new classroom in the video below:

Know of schools or districts in other places involved in similar experiments? Let us know about them.



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



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  • http://www.paulttran.com Paul Tran

    Wow – teaching kids about science, being eco-friendly, and giving them a healthy, conducive learning experience? That’s win/win/win/win scenario and a great set-up for tomorrow’s future leaders! Go LPA and thanks for sharing this piece!

    • http://www.lpainc.com Rochelle Veturis Coles

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, Paul. Excellent point, it’s a quadruple win – and it’s outright encouraging, to see this kind of effort expended to make things better for the next generation.

  • http://www.blackdiamondbuilders.com J Steele

    My kids will occasionally ask me how certain subjects at school are useful in the ‘real’ world. Apparently their teacher is not connecting the dots sufficiently for them so I do my best to make it relevant. This scenario is the ideal integration of theory and reality for the students, a great idea! Hopefully the metrics work out and it can be implemented more. Great job by all involved, my your tribe increase!

    • http://www.lpainc.com Rochelle Veturis Coles

      Beautifully and articulately said, J. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on Jeff’s piece. Appreciate you.

  • http://JohnLusher.com John Lusher

    Truly a win-win situation here! I love how they are reusing an existing space versus building or creating a new one! Retrofit is a term that we should all embrace more frequently! Remember the classrooms I learned in, way back when, I am jealous! I want a classroom like this one! Great article; way to go LPA, Inc.

    • http://www.lpainc.com Rochelle Veturis Coles

      Thank you John. And you’re right on the money, there are way more existing school facilities that need help versus the funds to build brand new ones. The Davis Magnet School has only been open for three years, and they setup shop in an older school campus, so retrofit is a theme that they’re really excited about. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment, John. Appreciate you.

  • http://www.eco.ph Skylights

    Sustainability will make us survive in a real world. Teaching the concept to the student and the school implementing it, the sustainability will be imprinted in the mind of the student. That’s what learning is all about, learning, nurturing, doing and leaving positive impact

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