Piper Kujac

Bessie Carmichael School Awarded Grant for LEED Certification

by , 01/06/10

Bessie Carmichael school playground, sustainable design, green design, green architecture, san francisco, soma, green school

Recently software manufacturer Adobe Systems Inc. gave a grant to the US Green Building Council (USGBC) to help San Francisco Bay Area schools achieve LEED certification, and the Bessie Carmichael School in the South of Market (SOMA) area was selected to receive an eco-renovation. The original challenge in 2007 was to convert the school’s existing 60-child preschool into a 230 student K-8 school for the Filipino Community. The site had been maintained as a school facility predating the 1906 earthquake and was in serious need of repairs when the San Francisco Unified School District hired Plum Architects to redefine the school structure.

Bessie Carmichael school playground, sustainable design, green design, green architecture, san francisco, soma, green schoolPhotograph by John David Peterson

Restructuring the school included more than just structural upgrades and extended to include smart design solutions that promote creativity, self-discipline, cultural and linguistic sensitivity, and physical and mental health for students within this local community. In an already constrained urban site, this translates into maximum outdoor space with flexible areas, such as a cafeteria that could also function as a gym and multi-purpose space. The four new classrooms and cafeteria, comprising 6800 square feet, have been pushed to the northern most edge of the site, away from the busy street along the south, while maximizing tree-protected southern exposure.

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4 Comments

  1. verdedude January 8, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    use http://www.mrgreenpoints.com – the best online resource for quickly identifying regionally manufactured products that can help earn points for certified wood, recycled content, reclaimed material, rapidly renewable material and low VOCs

  2. Piper Kujac January 7, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    The San Francisco Unified School District was awarded this money in a joint effort from Adobe Systems and USGBC for ‘green campus improvements’, which includes a myriad of efforts on this front. Exactly where these funds are being allocated is still in development, but for those out there thinking the obvious, such as ‘shouldn’t this money be going towards education?’, part of the funds will be put towards education and awareness of sustainable principles, etc., and no, the 100K would not be singularly eaten up by LEED Certification.
    The real value of LEED Certification is insurance and adherence to the guidelines it outlines. Check out some of the details of LEED for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance here: http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=3353
    If all schools had to adhere to these guidelines, the operation costs (not to mention energy savings) would be phenomenal!

  3. agent_phosgene January 7, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Yes, that’s how much certification costs. It’s rediculious. LEED is an very expensive way of saying we built the building the way we should have and not much more.

  4. Bob Ellenberg January 6, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    If I read this right, the building is complete and they got a grant of $100K to get the certification?

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