CSU and Poudre School District Students Team Up to Green Up Kinard Middle School

Colorado State University graduate students and local middle school students from Kinard are teaming up to help young students make their middle school have the lowest environmental footprint of any school in the state.

The project is part of a national pilot study by the U.S. Green Building Council and their LEED for Existing Schools Operations and Maintenance program. PSD, recognized nationally for its efforts in building green schools, was selected by the council to participate in the national pilot program to help existing schools obtain LEED certification.

CSU students in a facilities planning and management class helped Kinard students identify how they can conserve water and electricity, recycle waste and compost, and conserve more energy at the school, already one of the most energy efficient schools in the state. Kinard CARES, a student organization focused on community and environment, is focused on the goal of making the school the most efficient in the state and raising the awareness of environmental issues and sustainable practices. Kinard, which opened in 2006, was built as a green school in the Poudre School District. It already follows the school district’s sustainable design guidelines.

“Students have learned the breadth of facilities planning and management issues and practices through this project,” said Brian Dunbar, a CSU green building professor in the Department of Construction Management and co-teacher of the course with Bill Franzen, retired PSD director of operations. Dunbar is director of the Institute for the Built Environment, which focuses on green building research and education. “Teams of students have met with Kinard facilities staff, gathered data, documented and analyzed current building performance levels and made recommendations to meet the gold certification standard of the rigorous LEED for Existing Buildings standards.”

Kinard and CSU student teams were assigned to study the school’s site, water use, materials and resources, energy use, indoor environmental quality, and design, construction and operations. Among recommendations to the PSD board, the CSU graduate students suggest that a policy be developed that specifies that only high performance plumbing fixtures and fittings can be used in future renovations and repairs to continue to make the building water efficient. In addition, the project also recommended that the district implement a policy to purchase sustainable materials for updates to the school and also recommended that the solid waste management program be updated to better reflect sustainable and green practices and that a formal green cleaning policy be adopted that outlines using safe cleaning products, equipment and practices.

The recommendations from the project were presented to Poudre School District representatives in December. The district board is currently considering the proposal and next steps. It is envisioned that Kinard would be the first of numerous schools in the district to go through the process of identifying potential efficiencies, cost savings and green educational opportunities for students.

The Department of Construction Management is in the College of Applied Human Sciences.