Whenever people think about public schools having solar panels, windmills, and other self-sustainable energy, it seems all too futuristic. Many have a hard time envisioning that the public school system can have that amount of technology readily available.
In Irving, Tex., Lady Bird Johnson Middle School is the United State’s largest net zero school, fully equipped with solar panels and other green, self-sustaining technology.
The technologically advanced middle school opened up to students in August of 2012, since then it has become the nation’s largest net zero school.
Students at the school are encouraged to view the solar panels and to notice the change in energy on a sunny day versus a cloudy day. Inside the school, it has a “museum” feel because of its many presentations about energy throughout the school.
The building is LEED certified which is a certification about the overall energy efficiency on buildings, homes, and neighborhoods. The main building has a giant canopy to provide shade to the school on those hot Texas days.
The curriculum at Lady Bird Johnson Middle School is also much more advanced than other middle schools in the nation. For instance, the school’s mission is to have curriculum geared more towards student, not adults. The school wants their material to be created for their students.
Learning energy efficiency is extremely important for the school as well. Students will often do projects that teach the importance of recycling, energy conservation, and other “green” ideas.
There is a viewing deck for the main solar panel area, and teachers encourage students to go and view the panels to understand how they work and provide energy for the entire school.
Students are also equipped with iPads and other highly advanced tools so they are learning how to find information with current technology. Teachers also encourage students to look for the answer as opposed to just receiving the answer.
This new building is the way of the future for schools across America. It is so vital that students are taught the importance of energy conservation, and now that the technology is readily available it is easier to “undo” the pollution from previous generations.