CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Students at Hilltop Elementary School in Marshall County learn, play and spend much of their day inside a facility that the U.S. Green Building Council considers the "greenest" school in West Virginia.
Architects with McKinley & Associates announced Thursday that Hilltop is the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified school in West Virginia. The announcement came during a meeting of county superintendents at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling.
To become LEED-certified, buildings must meet several standards of "sustainable" design, as set by the U.S. Green Building Council, a private nonprofit trade organization.
The school is very well insulated, making it energy-efficient, said Thom Worlledge, an architect and Charleston area manager of McKinley & Associates. He designed the building.
In a phone interview, Worlledge discussed the other features that helped make the building LEED-certified. Architects minimized the levels of "volatile organic compounds" in paints and sealants, he said. Vapors from such VOCs can lead to nausea or dizziness in the short term and liver damage or cancer over time.
The majority of the materials used to build the school came from within 500 miles of the site of the school in Sherrard.
The metal roof and the siding on the second floor are "cradle to cradle" certified, Worlledge said. That means the roof and siding will be recycled after they're removed from the school.
"The product stays in the loop," he said. "That's pretty unique."
A teacher at John Marshall High School, Mark Swiger, plans to use the school's design as part of a problem-based learning course. Students will examine the features of the building and talk about why some parts are recycled, or why there are sunshades on the side of the building, Worlledge said.
Acoustics also are important, and there's a high standard to meet for LEED certification, Worlledge said.