by Jessica Ciampa
Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design is a voluntary program that verifies the environmental efficiency of buildings from schools to homes in neighborhoods and communities. Senior Charlotte Dreizen hopes to initiate a LEED certification for the Westfield School Community.
“[LEED] is the standard of environmental sustainability that the U.S. Green Building Council sets for buildings and it’s what I want to see WHS achieve,” said Dreizen.
There are five steps required for a building to become LEED certified, according to news.usgbc.org. First, a community must decide which rating system it will use and then complete a certification application.
The next step is to register for the project, which includes a $900 fee for USGBC members and $1,200 for any non-members. Paying the certification review fee, which changes depending on the size and type of building that is being certified, and submitting the application is the third step. The fourth step is waiting for the application to be reviewed. Lastly, once the decision is made, the community can accept or appeal the decision for the building to become certified.
Dreizen met last week with Michael Pate and Tony Cuccaro, who are in charge of energy consumption in the Westfield School District who have been working hard to reduce both electrical and gas energy waste over the past five years. According to Dreizen, over the past five years, the men have been working on saving energy, and have saved the district around two million dollars.
Assistant Principal Ms. Mary Asfendis said: “I applaud Charlotte’s interest and initiative in helping WHS become more green.... This initiative has the potential to help students and our community understand and lessen their impact on the environment.”
According to Dreizen, there are about half a dozen schools in the entire country that are certified, most of which are on the west coast. If certified, WHS would be the first high school and second public school in New Jersey to be LEED certified.