Ewa Makai Middle School Becomes First Hawaii School to Achieve “Gold” Certification with the U.S. Green Building Council

Ewa Makai Middle School has become the first Hawaii State Department of Education school to achieve “Gold” certification with the U.S. Green Building Council for its state-of-the-art sustainable construction, design, and operation.

Ewa Makai Middle School

The school, which opened to students in January 2011, was originally built for Silver certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines, as required by state law. Act 96 (2006) directs all state agencies to implement energy efficient and environmental standards such as LEED for new state facilities.

However, after a final review of the project, the U.S. Green Building Council determined that Ewa Makai earned enough points to move up from Silver to Gold status, the council’s second-highest certification.

“Ewa Makai’s Gold LEED designation sets a new standard for green school design in Hawaii,” said Randy Moore, assistant superintendent of the DOE Office of School Facilities and Support Services.

“Thanks to the hard work of the DOE facilities branch and contractors, our educators and students have the privilege of teaching and learning in a model campus for energy efficiency and sustainability,” said Ewa Makai Principal Edward Oshiro. “Our green, high-tech classrooms help inspire and engage students while teaching them important sustainability lessons.”

The LEED rating system was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (http://www.usgbc.org) and is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.

Among its many innovative features, Ewa Makai Middle is equipped with an air conditioning system that was commissioned following USGBC guidelines and natural day lighting design for energy conservation. Contractor recycling requirements included use of green materials, special control of storm water runoff, and testing for material emissions prior to occupancy. By incorporating LEED strategies, Ewa Makai Middle has the potential to save up to $22,000 annually in utility costs.

The $64.8 million, 175,900 square-foot facility on Kapolei Parkway is the second middle school for grades 7 and 8 in the Campbell Complex. It sits on 18.5 acres of land provided by Gentry Homes. Mitsunaga and Associates designed the facility, and Nordic PCL Construction, Inc., was the general contractor.

New public schools such as the Puu Kukui Elementary School on Maui, which is expected to open in August 2012, will be Silver LEED certified. The Waipahu Intermediate School cafeteria has also earned LEED certification.