If you haven’t heard of renewable energy sources, watt are you even doing? The first episode of Tomorrow’s World Today focuses on finding a good source of energy to power the ‘Park of the Future’, an educational and inspirational park project the showrunners are working on. For their research, Tamara Krinsky headed to Phipps Conservatory, which is one of the only LEED-certified greenhouses in the country. She also went to Haine Elementary to check out some inspiring classroom environments and education initiatives.
Here at TWT, we’re big fans of renewable energy sources. Aside from Phipps Conservatory, which was featured in this episode, another example of sustainable building practices is The Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach. The design of the building surpasses the LEED certification in zero waste, CO2 emissions, and it received a certificate from the International Living Future Institute. Parts of its construction were sourced locally- for example, the maple floors in the building once belonged to a local gymnasium. In addition, the center has composting toilets, treats rainfall to use as drinking water, and produces 80 percent more energy than the use.
Another building with sustainable practices is The Stanford University Central Energy Facility, which powers the California-based campus. Their new system replaced an entire fossil fuel based system. According to National Geographic, the apparatus has since been transformed so it’s mostly fueled by an off-site solar farm which reduced the energy usage by one third. It also has a heat recovery system in place which reduces the greenhouse gas emissions and water usage.
This episode also focuses on new education initiatives meant to inspire kids and get them excited about learning. Well, there’s one building that serves as a good example of both inspiring education and sustainable building practices: The Discovery Elementary School located in Ashburn, Virginia. According to Terramai, the primary goal of the designers was, “To create a place where kids couldn’t wait to get to in the morning and didn’t want to leave in the evening.” Not only do they include natural elements on their playgrounds and slides in their classrooms, but they’re also the largest net-zero energy school in the United States.
It’s not easy being green, but these amazing buildings show us that it’s possible.