Lake Washington School District (LWSD) was accepted today into the League of Innovative Schools, a national coalition of forward-thinking K-12 school districts organized by Digital Promise, a nonprofit organization with the mission to accelerate innovation in education and improve the opportunity to learn for all through technology and research.
The district saves money and reduces its environmental impact by incorporating green features into its new buildings.
LWSD has more lineal feet of geothermal loop than any other public school district in the state. The water in the geothermal loop warms underneath the ground, which retains heat in the winter. The cooled water returns to the ground where it warms back up. Geothermal energy is clean, renewable and cost-effective.
LWSD has the largest solar energy capacity of any district in the state – 615 kilowatts. That’s enough energy to power 60 homes. The 2016 bond projects are being built solar-ready – for when funding becomes available to place solar panels on them.
After a school district passes a bond measure, it is eligible to receive funds from Washington state’s School Construction Assistance Program. Projects must meet detailed requirements to receive this money, including the incorporation of natural view lighting, which allows students to see outside. This reduces electricity costs and enhances student learning environments.
To help LWSD reach its goal of meeting or exceeding state energy standards, the 2016 bond projects will have LED lighting both inside and outside.
Plants that don’t require watering over the summer are chosen for landscaping. Since 2006, we have reduced water used for outside irrigation by 80 percent.
Schools utilize a mix of plants to naturally filter storm water and underground tanks that filter impurities from run-off before water returns to a jurisdiction’s storm water system.
Rachel Carson Elementary School was the first K-12 public school in the state built with a green roof in 2008. The green roof covers two sections of the school, reducing rain run-off from the building. The roof is covered in soil to hold succulent plants that can survive the dry summers. It also insulates the spaces below.
High-efficiency plumbing fixtures and low-water cleaning procedures have helped the district reduce inside water use by 30 percent since 2006.