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River Crest Elementary is a unique teaching tool

A small gathering of less than a dozen people attended the public meeting Monday night during which Mark Hanson, who works for Hoffman Architects as an expert on sustainable building and design, presented a PowerPoint program, "River Crest Elementary: A Teaching Tool for Environmental Sustainability."

Most of us understand the concept of tuning a musical instrument. Well, River Crest Elementary School will be tuned up for the most efficient operation during its first year of operation. Everyone from the facilities director to the students will be learning how they can use the instrument (the school building) to get the best out of it. For example, the students will learn that the toilets offer two flushing options -- handle up, it flushes with less water than handle down, which uses 1.6 gallons per flush. The teachers get to tune up how they want to control the lights and air systems in each room.

It turns out many ways to conserve energy that have been brought to light by building a sustainable school are things that can be used districtwide, many in the area of power consumption, such as turning off the lights and power to monitors, printers etc.

In a statement handed out by the district, the group was advised the Hudson Board of Education is committed to environmental sustainability. The district wants all students to understand environmental issues and be able to apply their knowledge toward sustainable practices locally and globally. River Crest Elementary, which is anticipated to become the first LEEDS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified elementary school in Wisconsin.

This elementary building and its surrounding property will serve as an educational tool for staff, students and the community. The community's investment in River Crest will provide the seeds of learning that grow beyond the classroom walls, into the community and into lifelong environmental practices.

The complete document defining all the sustainable features and characteristics of River Crest School is available online at www.hudson.