Sustainability in Schools

With the diverse demands and complexity on K-12 projects, experience is a key component of successful project management. Experience is also a critical element to success in optimizing school designs for sustainability. Sustainable design is a core value for all of SMMA's K-12 projects, and we carry our organizational sustainability experience and knowledge from preliminary design all the way through post-construction occupancy.

With an interdisciplinary focus on using sustainability to enhance the learning environment and increase the value of the building and site, SMMA has acquired many years of distinguished success working on school projects.  

Prioritizing Alternatives

For nearly every aspect of our K-12 buildings, our team prioritizes opportunities for low- to no-cost sustainable design alternatives. From there, choices become focused on what will add the most value to the project and improve the way students experience the space. Of particular importance are classroom spaces, where natural light and thermally comfortable environments can greatly influence students’ focus and enjoyment of the learning areas.

There is never a one-size-fits-all approach for school projects, which is why SMMA’s considerable experience delivering sustainable outcomes can make such a difference for project efficiencies.

Below is a short overview of the design strategies we consistently employ across our school projects:  

  • Green charettes 

  • Site design for rainwater management, habitat and open space preservation, reduction of heat island impacts, and reduced irrigation use

  • Reduced expenses via the selection of water-efficient plumbing fixtures throughout the project, including kitchen equipment 

  • Superior heating and cooling systems that provide high-efficiency thermal comfort throughout the year, and assist building energy performance to be well above those of baseline buildings

  • Day-lit spaces and classrooms with views to the outside and lighting controls to decrease lighting demand, creating an environment more conducive to learning and focus 

  • Low-emitting materials and cleaning products so that students and teachers are not subject to harmful gasses

  • Enhanced acoustical designs to limit the introduction of noise pollution into learning environments