Mark Fitzpatrick of the Savannah branch of the U.S. Green Building Council presented a plaque to Effingham County Board of Education Chairman Lamar Allen on Wednesday, certifying the Effingham Career Academy as a LEED Gold facility.
Fitzpatrick, with J.T. Turner Construction in Savannah, said the ECA is serving as a model for other school systems and businesses across the state.
The Effingham Career Academy is a 44,000 square-foot facility, which houses seven labs/classrooms, administrative offices, a 3,000 square-foot commons area suitable for banquets and large meetings, a smaller dining room which can be used for professional development and small community meetings, and a school store/coffee shop operated by the school’s marketing department team members. Situated on 6.92 acres adjacent to Savannah Tech’s Effingham campus, the current site and building design will allow for future expansion as demand requires. In addition, the school officials wanted to build a facility that demonstrates good stewardship of natural and financial resources.
The building design and site orientation allows natural light into all classrooms and regularly occupied spaces. Fifty percent of the building materials were regionally manufactured and contained 25 percent recycled content.
The building also was constructed using materials low in volatile organic compounds and other hazardous chemicals that are contained in many construction materials and furnishings, which then pose a risk to the general population.
The building will use 42 percent less water and be 38 percent more energy efficient than a typical building of its size. In addition, 95 percent of the construction waste was diverted from landfills.
The school system was awarded a Georgia Environmental Facilities grant that has been used to purchase and install a 40-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array on the Career Academy. The funding was made available through federal stimulus money and is the largest solar power system in the area.