Omaha North High School is the first educational facility in Nebraska to be certified under the LEED for Schools rating system.
St. Louis-based Vertegy today announced it has added another LEED certified educational facility to its award-winning portfolio. The sustainability consulting firm was notified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that the four-story addition constructed for Omaha North High School in Omaha, Neb., recently earned LEED Silver certification. The addition is the first facility in Nebraska to earn LEED certification under the LEED for Schools rating system, which was implemented by the USGBC in 2007.
Omaha North High School is a magnet school serving students in grades nine through twelve, which specializes in the fields of science, engineering and technology. Faced with an expanding enrollment, the school, which was built in 1922, was in desperate need of new learning areas, and the administration decided to build a new addition that would accommodate the students, while providing a sustainable and productive learning environment. Omaha Public Schools hired Vrana Construction as the general contractor on the project. The Omaha North High School addition was the first LEED project Vrana had ever worked on, so the company reached out to Vertegy to act as LEED consultant and assist them with the LEED documentation for the construction-related credits. RDG Planning & Design, based in Omaha, served as the architect on the project, which was completed in August 2010, just in time for the 2010-2011 school year.
The four-story, 32,092-square-foot addition to Omaha North High School primarily consists of science classrooms and labs, but also serves the school's media technology and engineering programs. Specific features of the addition that helped garner the Silver certification include:
• The installation of 81 percent of wood harvested from FSC-certified sources
• A two-story greenhouse, which opens onto a green roof that is completely covered by SRI-compliant material and can be used as a secondary teaching space
• Water-efficient landscaping where rainwater provides 100 percent of the irrigation needs
• Low-flow sinks and dual-flush toilets that help further reduce the school's potable water use by 43 percent
• The use of low-emitting paints, coatings, adhesives, sealants, flooring materials and composite woods to reduce VOC emissions and improve indoor air quality
• Development and implementation of an indoor air quality program to reduce the amount of air contaminants released during the construction phase
Nearly 19 percent of the building materials were manufactured within 500 miles of the jobsite, and 32 percent of the building materials contained recycled content. Vrana was also able to divert 87 percent of the construction waste from the landfill, recycling scrap metal, concrete asphalt, wood drywall, cardboard packaging and landscaping waste. Because of its sustainable design, Omaha North High School is now enjoying a 20 percent reduction in energy use. The school has created a space-sharing agreement with local non-profits to allow use of the wrestling room, conference room, student gallery and roof garden. Omaha Public Schools has also incorporated sustainability into its technical curriculum, and the building will be used to illustrate the principles they are teaching.
"Omaha Public Schools should be commended for choosing to incorporate sustainability both in its curriculum and in the new Omaha North High School addition," said Thomas Taylor, General Manager of Vertegy. "We were thrilled to get a chance to work with Vrana on this project and see the new addition take shape. Vrana did an excellent job implementing the strategies we developed and helping Omaha North High School realize the benefits of sustainable design and construction."
Omaha North High School is the 27th LEED certified facility on which Vertegy has consulted and the sixth LEED certified educational facility. The firm also consulted on the LEED Gold Hubble Middle School in Warrenville, Ill.; LEED Platinum Crossroads College Preparatory School in St. Louis, Mo.; the LEED Gold St. Louis Community College Campus in Wildwood, Mo.; Northland Pines High School in Eagle River, Wis., which was also certified at the LEED Gold level; and the LEED Silver Missouri Hall at Columbia College in Columbia, Mo.
Founded in February 2005, Vertegy provides clients with design, procurement and construction consulting services for green and sustainable facilities. One of the key ways Vertegy serves clients is by helping them gain certification for their projects from various nationally and internationally recognized certification bodies, such as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which provides LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification. Vertegy — which is derived from combining the Latin root for green and strategy — is based in St. Louis at the LEED Platinum Alberici Corporate Headquarters. For more information, call 314.733.2666 or visit www.vertegyconsultants.com.