When designing restrooms for a new school, it's easy to start fresh with all-new plumbing products and systems that provide the latest functionality and greater water savings to meet green, or sustainable, objectives. For renovations, the options differ. Although water-efficient fixture and fitting choices for existing restrooms are a little more complex, they certainly are worth pursuing.
There's been so much emphasis on sustainable products and programs in new building construction, some mistakenly think it's too late or not worthwhile to go green with buildings that have been around for 20 years or more. Administrators are realizing the green movement applies to existing buildings too, and many are beginning to do something to improve the efficiencies of their education facilities.
Michelle Moore, senior vice president, policy and public affairs for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), recently testified before the U.S. Congress about the importance of green buildings. Focusing on schools in particular, she cited green buildings' impact on the environment and the economy, as well as on the health and productivity of occupants.
“School buildings represent the largest construction sector in the country, and 20 percent of the country goes to school every day,” says Moore. “It's fundamental to promote the design and construction of green schools, which play a tremendous role in bettering the health and performance of our students and children. Every new building coming out of the ground today should be built green, and every existing building should be retrofitted.”