LEED Building Is A Better Building

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LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized “green” building certification. LEED certification standards lead to a safer, greener, cleaner and more energy efficient environment within the building where they are applied. With a certification process more than 25 years in the making, LEED has grown to become the most widely used green building rating system in the world. As a process, it offers third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at reducing energy and water usage, promoting better indoor air quality, and improving quality of life.

 

Third Party Verification System

As an internationally recognized third-party verification system, LEED influences how buildings and communities are planned, constructed, maintained and operated. In order for a building project to earn LEED Certification, it must meet certain criteria and goals within the following categories:

Location and Transportation – how close a project is to mass transit
Materials and Resources – use of locally sourced, sustainable products
Water Efficiency – reducing potable water usage
Energy and Atmosphere – improving energy performance and indoor air quality
Sustainable Sites – utilizing nearby natural resources and ecosystems that can naturally take part of the design, minimizing environmental pollution
Regional Priority Credits – addressing a particular concern based on location
Innovation – any idea not covered under the main LEED areas

Each of these credit categories contains a varied series of suggested opportunities. The building project earns points when it properly uses and integrates these opportunities. The LEED certification is applicable to both residential and commercial construction, and projects can earn one of four certification levels: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.

 

Image used with the permission of the U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. under its “Limited License” provision

 

Benefits Of LEED Certification

 

Any project, at any stage in development, can pursue LEED certification. Although LEED-certified projects typically have a higher initial investment because of stricter standards for construction, materials and labor, this initial investment can be recovered with lower operating costs. According to a study conducted by the New Building Institute, LEED buildings average a 24 percent decrease in energy consumption. In addition to reduced energy and water usage, LEED buildings also provide substantial reductions in costs associated with building maintenance, management of construction waste, and liability.

LEED-certified buildings also offer many other benefits. Typically built with occupant comfort in mind, these buildings offer increased sunlight, open spaces, and significantly better air quality, creating healthier, more comfortable, and very attractive places to live, work or play. For communities, having a LEED certified building not only reinforces the community’s commitment to sustainability, it also brings jobs to the community, since one of LEED’s best practices is utilizing local labor and materials wherever possible.

 

A Commitment to Sustainability
At Scranton Products, we believe in supporting a healthier environment and are focused on providing our customers innovative sustainable solutions that create a positive environmental impact.

 

Because our products are designed to meet specific LEED requirements, incorporating Scranton Products sustainable HDPE materials into your projects can contribute points toward LEED v4 certification in the following categories:

 

Material & Resources:

·    Recycled Content

·    REACH Optimization

·    Construction Waste Diversion

Indoor Air Quality:

·      Low Emitting Materials

·      Interior Lighting – Surface

·       Reflectance

 

For more information on our complete suite of sustainable products, please contact us to start a conversation today. All of our products are 100% recyclable and are made from recycled materials, incorporating between 30 and 85% recycled content, including both post-consumer and pre-consumer materials. In addition, our products are free of VOC emissions and are GREENGUARD Gold Certified.

 

How to Promote Recycling in Your School

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It’s important for you to implement a recycling program within your school facility. As the facility manager, it’s up to you to come up with waste management strategies and recycling, so getting students and faculty onboard can help make these recycling plans come into fruition. However, you’ll have to get creative to help inspire and incentivize others to get on board with the program.

Here’s a few tips on how to promote recycling in your school:

Start a Contest

There’s no better way to rally students behind an idea than by making it competitive. Speak with administration to brainstorm an idea for a recycling contest that the whole school can get behind. Divide the student body into teams by grade. The key is to figure out the prizes. There can be anything from fun field trips to catered lunches. Once you’ve got the contest parameters and prizes figured out, hang up posters and flyers to invoke school spirit and the benefits of recycling.

Implement a Green Week

Now more than ever, it’s important to educate students and faculty on the benefits of the green movement. Talk to administrators about implementing a green week where there’s educational assemblies and instructions on what sustainability is, the importance of going green, and, of course, the huge benefits to recycling properly. This is your chance to go even further by highlighting recyclable material and how they should be divided, so students can be aware of how to separate their recyclable waste.

Save Your Scrap Paper

Scrap paper tends to be thrown out with other trash when it can be recycled and reused. Students are well aware that paper comes from trees, and they may even know the important role that trees play in our environment and ecosystem. Install a scrap paper bin in classrooms and high-traffic areas in the hallways, so students won’t have a shortage of areas where they can put their scrap and loose-leaf paper.

Utilize Green Materials in Your School Facility

Recycling is a two-way street, and while it’s important to recycle your products, it’s equally as important to utilize products that have already been recycled to keep the green momentum going. There are a variety of materials that can be used to help you complete this process. Considering replacing your current lockers and toilet partitions with HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic. This plastic is not only recyclable, but it’s also partially made from post-consumer materials. HDPE plastic can also last throughout the years, so you’ll have a durable and reliable material in your school that’s also sustainable.

Hold a Clothing Drive

Plastic bottles and paper aren’t the only items that can be recycled. In fact, clothes are also important to recycle because you can help supply those in need with warmer jackets and clothing to help them throughout the winter months. Inspire students to bring in old coats, shirts, pants, and shoes to donate them to local shelters and churches, who will then ensure that the clothing is being distributed to the people that need them the most.

Getting on Board with Recycling

As a facility manager, you’re well aware of the importance of recycling and sustainability. Through inspiration and incentives for the students and faculty in your school, you’ll be able to ensure that your recycling program gets the right traction, and you can insure that your school limits the unnecessary waste. Getting everyone onboard with recycling can help inspire others to do the same.

Want to learn more about how to push your school towards a greener direction? Check out this free eBook, Sustainable Building Products: How to Make Your Facility Eco-Friendly from Top to Bottom, from your friends at Scranton Products.

Setting New Year Goals for Your School Faculty Members

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Starting the New Year off with a few goals in mind is always a good idea because it allows you to move forward and improve yourself and your work. However, you can also inspire your school’s faculty members to do the same. Some of these goals can be self-improvement, but a few should revolve around the students and the school. Setting New Year’s goals for your school faculty members can help invigorate a team spirit, especially when the goals are aligned.

Here are a few tips and suggestions for New Year goals for your school faculty members:

Improve Your Work/Life Balance

Stress is always a great thing to avoid and being overworked is one of the major causes of stress. Instead, you can take steps to improve the balance of work and home life in a few easy steps. If you bring work home with you, plan out a schedule that has a stopping point so you can relax. A happy teacher almost always leads to happy students.

Be More Accessible to Your Students

It’s important to be available to your students, especially if they have any questions about the material, class, or the assignments. Some students may have anxiety about raising their hand or asking questions during class time, so be available for a few minutes after class to address any questions or concerns about the material you just covered, so they can prepare for any tests, quizzes, or upcoming assignments.

Lead Your Students by Example

Setting a good example for your students is necessary to help them aspire to be better. This can cover a variety of topics on the importance of self-reliance, working together, or even self-improvement. Whether it’s maintaining a healthy diet, being active, or going green, it’s important to set good examples for students to follow so they can do the same.

Create a Fun & Nurturing Environment

Environment has shown to have an effect on student’s ability to learn. There are plenty of ways that you can make your classroom more inviting and nurturing. You can include some indoor plants, which can help purify the air in your class room. You’ll also want to make class fun and exciting. Laughter helps release serotonin and endorphins, which can improve blood flow to the brain and improve engagement, memory, and concentration. When the classroom is fun and engaging, you’ll see improvement in participation, test scores, and overall grades.

Inspire Students to Get Involved

School is where students start to formulate their plans for the future, whether it’s the career path they want, where they want to go to school, and even develop their passions and interests. Encourage students to get involved somehow. Highlight some of the interesting after-school clubs that are in line with students’ interests, so they can further develop their skills to achieve their goals for their future.

Want to learn more about how to improve your school environment for students and faculty? Check out this blog post, Issues Impacting School Administration: Issues & Solutions, from your friends at Scranton Products.

Middle School Lockers: Durable, Easy-to-Clean, & Cost-Effective HDPE

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When it comes to picking out the right lockers for your middle school or junior high, you’ll want to choose the right material that can handle a few hits, as well as something that’s not going to cost you a lot on maintenance. There are a few materials out there that facility managers have been using for years, however, there are better options out there, like HDPE plastic. We’re going to list a few reasons why you should consider choosing HDPE plastic for your middle school lockers.

HDPE Locker Durability

Middle school is when most students experience lockers for the first time. They’ve since upgraded from cubbies and desks with storage space. Now it’s time for them to store their materials in a locker, so choosing the right material can go a long way. Metal was always the standard material that was used for lockers, given its strong frame and light weight. However, metal lockers can be subject to a variety of damage and cosmetic issues.

Metal lockers can take a few hits, sure, but after constant slamming, there’s going to be signs of wear. The metal can easily be dented and scratched, but if a student gets the idea of marking the lockers with graffiti, the fresh paint and the man hours are going to cost you. HDPE can be a huge benefit in this situation because it’s a highly durable material that can take a few hits without resulting in damage. It also doesn’t need to be painted because it’s graffiti-resistant.

Easy to Clean HDPE

Cleaning all the lockers in your facility is never a fun experience. Not only are there a ton of lockers to clean, but the process may vary depending on the condition of the metal lockers. If there’s spray paint or even rust, you’ll have to invest in paint for the locker. But while traditional metal lockers can be very time consuming when it comes to maintenance, HDPE provides a simple and easy cleaning experience.

Due to the solid plastic construction, its overall appearance should remain untarnished by dents or scratches, which saves you from having to replace the locker. HDPE doesn’t require any sort of repainting or touch ups, and all HDPE lockers need is a light cleaning every now and then.

Cost-Effective HDPE

HDPE can be an investment…but after 2 years it is typically less expensive than other locker materials, such as metal, due to requiring less maintenance and no painting. HDPE is a cost-effective material that will allow you to save money and time when it comes to maintenance. It’s also a long-lasting material, so you won’t be looking at any costly replacements in the near future, and you’ll be able to keep the same lockers for years to come.

Want to learn more before you make the jump to HDPE lockers? Check out this free eBook, The Ultimate Guide to HDPE Plastic Lockers, from your friends at Scranton Products.

Your Back-to-School Cleaning Plan & Checklist

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To a school facility manager, the end of summer is an exciting and busy time. While you may have kept up with some routine maintenance and cleaning throughout the off-season, now it’s time to really get started on preparing the building for the upcoming school year. This means getting a back-to-school cleaning plan and checklist together to make sure that you cover all your bases so your school building can be ready to start the school year off on the right foot.

Clean Those Hallways.

It’s important to give your hallways a thorough cleaning before the school year begins. Most germs and bacteria are picked up through foot traffic, and more often than not, those germs end up in the hallways. Utilizing a strong disinfectant cleaner can help combat the spread of germs. However, there are green cleaning products on the market that can help you achieve germ removal and still keep harmful chemicals from contaminating the air.

Focus Your Efforts in the Restroom/Locker Rooms.

School restrooms and locker rooms are a breeding ground for bacteria, germs, and, of course, mold. While a thorough cleaning can help reduce the growth and spread of mold, it may already be too late. The constant presence of moisture can actually cause mold to sprout inside your partitions. If this is the case, you’ll need to replace them. But why not replace them with a material that can resist mold growth, such as HDPE (high-density polyethylene)?

Test Your Water & Air Quality.

Be sure to check your air and water quality to see if it’s up to code. Find a water tester in the area to help you conduct these routine tests so you can see where the quality lies. If the result isn’t as high as you’d hoped, consider replacing the filtration system. When it comes to air, there are several ways that you can do your part increase the quality. Consider getting indoor plants, utilize HDPE building materials, and have your HVAC system checked for any issues.

Clean/Replace Lockers.

You may not realize this, but lockers are a hotbed for germs. When the light catches them just right, you can see the assortment of finger prints, grease, and smudges that have built up over time. You can utilize cleaning products, but if there’s any rust or exterior damage, you may want to consider replacing them. Luckily, HDPE plastic lockers don’t rust, they don’t easily damage, and they’re resistant to graffiti, helping you maintain your facility without having to paint over them. HDPE lockers can also help improve the school’s air quality. This material is also low maintenance, which helps you save time and money on your school cleaning checklist!

Was this back-to-school cleaning plan and checklist helpful in showing you the many ways that you can help get your school ready for the sudden influx of students? Do you want to find ways to make your school a safer and more sustainable environment for the students? Check out this eBook, Safe School Design: How Architecture Plays a Role in Creating Safe & Secure Educational Spaces, from your friends at Scranton Products.

 

Teaching Children About Sustainability in School: Practice What You Preach

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When you’re managing a sustainable educational facility, it’s important to impart your wisdom to the occupants and students that grace the halls and classrooms. Sustainability is one of the most important factors in today’s society, as it’s crucial to the overall well-being of our planet and its occupants. But in order to practice what you preach, sustainability education should be implemented early on so students can understand the best practices and benefits.

Learning How to Make Your Building More Sustainable

When you’re managing a facility or school, it’s always a good idea to move forward with steps toward making your facility more sustainable. While you may be thinking that the only way to do that is by taking your recycling program to the next level, you’ll be surprised to know that there are ways where you can make your actual building more sustainable and eco-friendly.

You can start off by switching to green cleaning products that’ll reduce harmful emissions in your air. Another way is by using green LEED building materials when it comes time for renovations and remodeling. There are different materials like eco-friendly windows, recycled flooring, and even solar panels to help reduce the carbon footprint.

You can even change the lockers and bathroom stalls by using the 100% recyclable HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic. This material doesn’t scratch, corrode, or fall victim to unhealthy mold growth. Another major benefit is that it doesn’t delaminate or require a fresh coat of paint. You’ll cut a lot of costs when it comes to maintenance, and you won’t have to repaint them and add unhealthy VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions to your school’s air.

Educating Students About Sustainability

While we’re growing acclimated to a greener lifestyle, we need to educate younger students on the importance of environmentally conscious practices like sustainability. The best ways to approach sustainability education is through hands-on experience. Show your students how to effectively recycle their waste through separating the different materials and even composting the organic waste.

While on the topic of composting, you can work your way toward another sustainable aspect: gardening. Compost goes from our normal food and yard waste and becomes a fertile material that provides exceptional nutrients to growing plants and vegetables. Teach the students that gardening and other agricultural practices benefit the environment and its inhabitants.

Finally, one of the most important steps to teach children about is conservation. Educating them on the benefits of conserving energy and water can be useful. If you implement fun educational methods, students will take the knowledge to heart and apply it to their daily lives. By taking the necessary steps to educate today’s youth about sustainability, you’ll pave the way toward a brighter and greener future for generations.

 

Was this blog post helpful? Do you want to learn more about how to make your facility more sustainable? Download the eBook, Sustainable Building Products: How to Make Your Facility Eco-Friendly from Top to Bottom, courtesy of Scranton Products.

Creating a Safe Learning Environment Through Facility Maintenance & Management

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One of the most important components of a person’s ability to learn is their environment. Whether it’s a young child or an adult college student, the facility in which they’re being educated directly affects their ability to learn. As a facility manager, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that you’re creating a safe learning environment through facility maintenance and management.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make sure that your facility is well maintained and managed in the hopes of it being perceived as a safe learning environment.

Air Quality

While air quality is important to consider on all levels, it can actually have a direct effect on a person’s ability to learn. If your facility has poor indoor air quality, it could lead to students having irritated eyes, upper respiratory infections, headaches, and even sleepiness—not exactly a recipe for improved learning.

You can take several steps in your facility maintenance and management plan to increase the quality of your air. One involves having clean floors. While mopping and vacuuming can be effective, one way to stop allergens and other harmful materials is through floor mats. Large floor mats placed outside and inside can catch some of these materials and prevent them from entering the air. Be sure to have the floor cleaned at least twice a week. If you’re using a vacuum, it’s always a good idea to clean out the filter regularly.

Cleaner Restrooms

The quality of air in restrooms can be questionable. Humidity and moisture tend to build up in bathrooms, which then can result in mold and fungus. While air fresheners in your facility maintenance plan can be useful for combating the odors in the bathroom, the culprit may be your stalls and partitions.

Bathroom partitions are constantly subjected to moisture and humidity, mold can eventually grow inside the stalls, which will continuously drop the air quality. By, Investing in HDPE (high-density polyethylene) stalls  it can  help to prevent the growth of mold. HDPE is resistant to moisture and a more durable material than those found in most stalls.

Reducing Graffiti

While art is important in a person’s education, said art should only be placed on a designated canvas. Graffiti is a common scourge to facility surfaces like lockers and bathroom stalls. Painting over the graffiti is a common answer to the problem, but not only will it invite more graffiti, the paint could put VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions into the air.

In this instance, using HDPE lockers for your facility maintenance and management plan has numerous benefits. The material is resistant to graffiti and scratches, so it doesn’t require you to repaint it. Any drawing or writing can be easily wiped away without having to risk the air quality during graffiti removal.

Better Ventilation

It’s always good to check the ventilation system to make sure that everything is working properly. Discomfort can be a huge distraction when trying to learn, so providing a comfortable environment is crucial. Make a point to continuously check your heating and ventilation systems to ensure that they’re performing as expected without any waste in energy.

We hope that these facility maintenance and management tips will help to promote a safer learning environment in your school or facility. If you want to learn even more about how you can create a safe learning environment, check out our Hiny Hiders case study and learn how HDPE bathroom stalls helped the Dallas Independent School District.

Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity in Your Classroom

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When a safe and inclusive classroom is created, more students are capable of achieving a higher level of learning and understanding, not to mention a smoother transition into later stages of education like college or graduate school. Promoting inclusivity and diversity in the classroom is the responsibility of the teachers and school administrators, since the success of their efforts relies solely on the success of their student body.

In this post, we explore why inclusivity is so important and how to facilitate an all-inclusive learning environment, and we’ll showcase an example of one school that demonstrated impeccable inclusivity and diversity within its classrooms.

Why Is Inclusivity Important?

Simply put, inclusivity is important because it promotes the education of all students equally, no matter their race, sex, religion, or any other factor. There are two main issues that arise when talking about inclusivity: a feeling of belonging and stereotype threat.

When students have a feeling of belonging within the classroom or in the educational institution as a whole, they’re less likely to struggle with coursework and campus life. Creating a sense of belonging helps students to integrate into the educational institution and aids them in achieving their educational goals.

Stereotype threat, on the other hand, is the fear of confirming a negative stereotype about one’s own in-group, especially when the student strongly identifies with that group. This can significantly impact the focus and performance of students and create other cognitive obstacles. Students from less privileged socioeconomic statuses, women in math and science classes, members of the LGBT community, and students of other backgrounds are at risk of suffering from stereotype threat.

By promoting inclusivity and diversity in the classroom, teachers can significantly lower the instances of these barriers to learning.

How to Promote Inclusivity in Your Classroom

With a little bit of planning, you can help to promote inclusivity and diversity in the classroom. The first step it to ensure that you include diverse ideas, content, and materials. Whenever you’re constructing a syllabus, be sure to include context and diverse resources to illustrate your lesson plan. It’s also important to be aware of any biases that you may have or any experiences that may shape your perspective or selection of materials.

Other ways to promote inclusivity in the classroom is to foster an inclusive environment. Encourage students to contribute and set clear expectations for how you’d like students to interact with each other so as to keep a certain level of respect and fairness. As the educational facilitator, it’s important that you show respect for all comments and questions and provide an atmosphere where students feel safe to contribute.

Celebrating Schools That Practice Inclusivity and Diversity

Scranton Products recently held a national competition where schools were encouraged to create videos about inclusivity and diversity. The winning school, Williamsburg Christian Academy, was awarded $50,000 in Duralife Lockers and $7,500 in scholarships as the first place prize.

Serving students in grades K-12, Williamsburg Christian Academy demonstrated a wide variety of inclusivity, which takes place in many aspects of school life. Students and faculty worked together to create the winning video, which was selected during a public voting round into the TOP 100 videos. The video was then chosen by a panel of judges for the first place prize.

New Research Shows Positive Connection Between Classroom Design and Learning

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lockers
The team designing and executing a school facility has a lot of responsibilities, including student safety. Recently, it’s been discovered that design can impact the students’ attitudes and even the way they retain information.

When designing a school facility, use this information to inspire the design and increase students’ performances in reading, writing, and math.

The American Institute of Architects has discussed UK-based HEAD (Holistic Evidence and Design) findings regarding this information.

Key Findings

HEAD spent three years studying 153 classrooms in 27 schools in Blackpool, Hampshire, and Ealing, UK, that involved 3,766 students. They found evidence that shows how important classroom design is to students’ learning and what factors yield these results.

The study looked at three dimensions or design principles that have been used to suggest and structure the factors that should be considered to keep students engaged in different activities. These dimensions are naturalness, individualization, and stimulation.

Naturalness is about the light, sound, temperature, air quality, and other links to nature. Individualization is about a student’s ownership, flexibility, and connection to the environment. And stimulation is about the appropriate level of complexity and color.

Using this three-part structure, the study focused on the impact of various elements of school environments on students. Its findings are directly related to the facility’s design and construction, such as natural light and the shading of the windows as well as their location.

A classroom should have distinct characteristics and a location that allow students to be relaxed but also promotes a sense of ownership. And to appeal to the appropriate level of stimulation, the overall atmosphere must be engaging but free of clutter. Bright colors should be used only as accents.

Classroom Designs and Materials

Studies have demonstrated that an aesthetically pleasing environment designed in a certain way will better contribute to students’ learning and comfort. Architects and engineers should consider this information when creating a building’s design.

In addition to the layout, window placement, and other factors necessary for a stimulating facility, it’s important to ensure the use of materials that are safe for the children and provide for a healthy environment.

Scranton Products utilizes high-density polyethylene (HDPE) to reduce the environmental impact and improve facilities’ indoor air quality.

Solid plastic HDPE doesn’t absorb moisture, resists mold and mildew, and has a 25-year warranty. The partitions and lockers can be power washed and steam cleaned, so you never have to use harmful chemical cleaners. They contain a solid color throughout, so you’ll never need to paint them, which eliminates VOC emissions.

Click here to find out where you can purchase Scranton Products for your facility.