10 April 2012
Monday, April 2, 2012
By JOEL TURNER - Staff Writer
Franklin County's Gereau Center is one of Virginia's three nominees for National Green Ribbon Schools awards that will be announced in April.
The Gereau Center was selected by Virginia's Green Ribbon Schools Selection Team as one of the state's three nominees for the national awards.
Linda Wallinger, state assistant superintendent for instruction, has notified Franklin County school officials about the Gereau Center's nomination for a national award.
Thirty-eight states participate in the national awards program by the United States Department of Education.
The awards recognize schools that save energy, reduce costs, feature environmentally sustainable learning spaces, protect health, foster wellness and offer environmental education.
The Gereau Center includes the Center for Energy Efficient Design (CEED) because it is part of Gereau's campus.
Kevin Bezy, Gereau's principal, said he thinks the Gereau Center has a strong case for a national award. "I have my fingers crossed," he said.
The CEED, the brainchild of teachers John Richardson and Neil Sigmon, was eight years in the planning and construction phases and cost approximately $1.4 million, with more than $400,000 in-kind donations from building firms and other businesses.
The CEED is a net zero, energy-efficient building. Using technologies of PassivHaus design, earth berming, south facing solar orientation, thermal mass, geothermal energy, photovaltaics, solar hot water heaters, electricity-producing wind turbines, rainwater harvesting, energy efficient appliances and daylighting, the building produces more energy than it needs to operate.
The CEED is the first public school building in the United States with Passivhaus technology and standards to achieve certification from the Passive House Institute U.S. The cost for Passivhaus technology adds only about 5 percent to the cost, but the additional cost can be recovered in energy savings in four or five years.
Not only is the CEED saving energy, but it is an airtight structure with an air exchanger that ensures that there is is constant circulation of air from the outside.