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OHS now LEED green building certified

Oxford School District

The Oxford School District celebrated Earth Day in a big way today: school district officials announced that Oxford High School has been awarded LEED Silver under the LEED for Schools Rating System established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute.

LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

The newly constructed 220,000-square-foot education facility is the first high school in Mississippi to achieve the LEED certification on the Silver level. Oxford High School achieved LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies.

“The LEED certification demonstrates our school district’s dedication to providing the healthiest and most sustainable learning environment for its students,” said Oxford School District Superintendent Brian Harvey. “We want to reduce our environmental impact while providing real-world sustainability education that prepares our students to succeed in the 21st century. We want our students to learn to live, work and play with sustainability and health in mind — not as an afterthought — but as an integral part of everything they undertake in their life from cradle to career.”

Perry Richardson, USGBC Mississippi Chapter chair, says that by using less energy and water, LEED certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers and contribute to a healthier environment for students, teachers and the larger community.

“Green schools are important because they act as a healthy learning environment for students and also get the message across that you can have a learning building that’s a sustainable building,” Richardson said. “When students are educated in these types of environments, it becomes the norm for them in their lives.”

LEED certification of Oxford High School was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community. The school achieved a total of 50 points out of a possible 100 points. These features include:

• Large green spaces around the facility

• Access to public transportation

• Minimal light pollution

• 40 percent reduction in water usage compared to a similar building structure

• 34 percent reduction in energy usage compared to a similar building structure

• During the building’s construction, construction waste was diverted from a landfill; instead, it was recycled or delivered to a salvage center

• Over 5 percent of the construction materials by cost were locally manufactured

• Low volatile organic compounds  were used in all rooms, which directly provides better indoor air quality

• Five total extra credit points were granted to the high school for going above and beyond the criteria in several areas.

“We wanted to reduce our environmental impact,” Harvey said. “That’s why the high school was designed and built with the foresight to make it the most technology-rich learning environment to produce academically successful students while offering environmentally-friendly benefits for the community and school population.”