LEED GOLD… What’s that?

By: Emily Dyer

The new North Toronto is the first LEED certified school building in Canada. I’m sure that everyone has heard this 1000 times, from teachers, newspaper articles, or students. But I am also sure that most of you don’t really know what it means.

A LEED (Leaders in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is a globally recognized environmental certification. This is based on a number of environmental design characteristics, including sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, material selection, and indoor environmental quality. Our new building earned LEED Gold, the second highest possible certification.

We notice some of the features which got us our certification every day. When the lights turned off for no apparent reason in the middle of your math class on Friday, it was probably because the amount of natural light entering the room had increased. All of the classroom lights have sensors which judge how much light is needed to the room. Those weird looking slats on the side of the commons are not just for decoration, either. They help to prevent solar heat from entering the school in the summer, as well as helping to trap heat in the winter, which reduces our reliance on air-conditioning and heating.

Less obvious environmental features in the school include low flow, double flush toilets, and many other attributes which are meant to reduce our dependence on water by 20%. Our new school is also better insulated and uses greener radiant floor heating and cooling which will lead to a 40% reduction in electricity use. In addition, the paint and adhesive used in building our school are low emissions, meaning that they are better for the environment and the health of the people that use the building.

Our school is very green, especially compared to our old, power -sucking building, but before you give yourself a pat on the back and throw your pop can into the garbage, remember that the building does not do your environmental duty for you. So walk or bike to school, reduce your paper use, and sort your garbage, because the earth’s work is never done. No matter how environmental you think that you are, you can always improve. So follow the LEED of our school, and go green NT!