Energy efficiency in modern design has quickly become a standard expectation among building owners and occupants. Schools and other educational facilities such as colleges and universities are no different. In fact, these institutions can sometimes be the pioneers in changing how buildings are designed and constructed.
That said, a 2005 study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that a typical school district can spend more on energy than on any other expense (excluding salaries). It’s estimated that around one third of energy is lost due to inefficient equipment, inadequate insulation or outdated technology. With these high expenses and energy losses, there are opportunities for achieving energy efficiency in schools. Spray foam insulation such as Icynene, can help play a role in achieving it.
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Schools Rating System recognizes the unique nature of the design and construction of K-12 schools. With the inclusion of spray foam insulation into the design, architects designing new schools can gain valuable LEED credits as they work toward LEED Silver, LEED Gold or LEED Platinum certification. The LEED for Schools rating system addresses areas including classroom acoustics, master planning, mold prevention and environmental site assessment.
Below are seven categories that spray foam insulation can contribute to LEED credits:
- Minimum Energy Performance (EA2)
- Optimize Energy Performance (EA1)
- Recycled Content (MR4)
- Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance (IEQ1)
- Minimum Acoustical Performance (IEQ3)
- Low Emitting Materials (IEQ4)
- Mold Prevention (IEQ10)
A number of Icynene spray foam insulation products have also been tested and evaluated for certification with the Collaborative for High Performance Schools to CHPS 13050.
Reaching energy efficiency in schools can be achieved in a number of ways from the inclusion of high-performance heating and cooling systems, solar and/or geothermal systems through to ensuring the building envelope includes improved thermal insulating and air sealing materials such as spray foam insulation. Icynene’s building science team is always on hand to work together with architects and designers to understand how spray foam insulation can be included into their next school or college design.