Isaac Dickson Elementary Selected Top Sustainable School in the Carolinas

RALEIGH NC, September 25th, 2017 – On September 21st, Isaac Dickson Elementary School received the 2017 Top Green School Award in the Carolinas at the US Green Building Council's Green Gala event held in Charlotte. The award, recognizing the best green school in North and South Carolina, was presented to the school's design team led by Innovative Design, Legerton Architecture and Elm Engineering.

The 77,000 square-foot K-5 elementary school in Asheville, NC, features numerous sustainable design elements including natural daylighting in all the school's regularly occupied spaces, rainwater harvesting, geothermal heating and cooling, a community garden, a greenhouse, and numerous outdoor experiential learning features. The school has been designed to LEED Platinum environmental standards and is currently crowd-funding in order to install a 600-kilowatt photovoltaic system that will result in the school being a net-zero energy user.

In order to bring increased awareness of the impact that abnormally rapid changes in the Earth's atmospheric conditions can have on the inhabitants of the Earth, a fully articulated fossilized skeleton of a 66-million-year-old Hadrosaur has been incorporated into the design of the school's front entry. The dinosaur was discovered by Dr. Steven Nicklas, the brother of Innovative Design architect Mike Nicklas, and later donated to the school. It is one example of the numerous features within the school that allow the students to experience and better understand the importance of pursuing an environmentally sustainable path.

In explaining the importance of the sustainable design features, Principal Brad Johnson emphasized that "student learning is clearly enhanced through implementing design elements into the building and site that allows them to actually experience what others may only be reading about." In emphasizing the benefits of the design, Asheville City Schools Superintendent Denise Patterson points to how "the school provides an exciting learning environment which is interactive for students. We are very fortunate that our students have this opportunity."

"By incorporating constructed wetland ponds that help treat rainwater runoff before it reaches local streams, students get an enhanced appreciation of the impacts of upstream pollutants. By implementing a greenhouse and garden areas immediately outside classrooms, students better appreciate their connectivity to nature. This school is a fruition of a true integrative design, a collaborative effort of over 1100 participants during the design and construction" said Project Architect, Brian Koh of Innovative Design.

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