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.