Environmental sustainability is a goal of the local community and a high school is an integral part of the plan. Up front decisions, including the site chosen, will have a large impact on the operational sustainability of the school. The Environmental Impact Analysis of the Central High School Relocation Study examines differences between potential sites using well-established references for green schools, such as the US Green Building Council’s LEED for Schools guide.
• Sites with more land may be less efficient in terms of resource usage, but the possibility to generate renewable energies would be higher.
• The infill sites are better in terms of land use, context, and minimization of transportation emissions.
• Material reuse might be an option at the Country Fair site.
• Infill sites may have more exposure to industrial activity, but some industrial land uses were located near all of the sites.
• Exposure to air pollution from major roads is likely to be problematic at all sites, although it could be worse at sites directly bordering freeways.
• Most sites border hazardous material transport routes, thus a chemical spill emergency plan would be necessary.
• A sustainable school has the potential to influence generations of students and their families to make green choices in their own lives.
• Building systems and their surroundings (either natural or urban) can be used as a teaching tool for a range of disciplines, from literature to sciences.
• Because climate change impacts are unknown and relatively delayed, an investment in a sustainable school may be the best kind of legacy we can leave for our children.