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LEED Certified Associate Tours Eco-Friendly Virginia School

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aerial view of old donation center school campus

In just a few short months, hundreds of gifted and talented students will step inside of one of the most innovative “green” schools in the nation—the Old Donation Center in Virginia Beach. Among the first to experience the new energy-saving technology was SteelMaster’s Senior Design Specialist and LEED Certified Associate William Swafford who spends most of his day advising customers about the benefits of our eco-friendly steel Quonset HutsTM.

This $63 million project is near completion and will be ready to welcome students in just two months.

Construction started in the summer of 2014 and school officials involved the entire community in the planning process. They held workshops and public meetings to get everyone’s input before the building process started. According to the Virginian Pilot, the school also asked students for their input during construction through surveys and special video conferences. This new school will provide special, advanced classes for exceptional students in grades 2-8.

While touring this new state-of-the art facility, Swafford also had the opportunity to speak with Tim Cole, the chief sustainability officer for Virginia Beach City Public Schools.

This green facility is brilliant. It finds new ways to facilitate learning while also saving in energy costs.

Solar tubes and plenty of windows with light shelves were installed to provide students with about 75% natural light. Each classroom has special light sensors that ensure the students have the perfect amount of constant light between the natural light and the high efficiency LED fixtures.

The Old Donation School is jam packed with green goodies including a vegetative green roof, a bright white membrane roof, and an energy-efficient heating and cooling system.

The specially designed roof has an albedo rating, which basically measures the ratio of radiation reflected from a surface. This reflects some of the solar heat and reduces the overall heat island.

SteelMaster’s Galvalume Plus coating has a very similar reflective quality that also helps to keep the interior of our buildings cooler. Our eco-friendly steel Quonset Huts are made from recycled steel and are 100% recyclable. Recycling steel has a huge impact on the environment and saves a ton of energy. The amount of energy saved is equal to the energy required to power 20 million households per year.

While we did not get the opportunity to provide any materials for this project, it is great to know that these innovations will help VBCPS keep costs down and be better for the environment than traditional construction. These are two things that mirror the work we are doing here at SteelMaster Buildings.

“Getting a chance to see some of this cutting edge technology is always helpful in my day-to-day interactions with architects, engineers and the end users” says Swafford about his visit to the new facility.