Education with the Environment in Mind
High Tech High Chula Vista (HTHCV) is the newest campus to the High Tech High cadre of public charter schools. Students are given a leap forward not just by the college preparatory curriculum and project based teaching style, but the very campus serves as a teaching tool for the 150 freshmen who started the first class in 2007. Everything from the 101 kilowatt photovoltaic system to the energy efficient lighting and water conscious landscaping helps emphasize the environmental ideals that will protect the environment for future generations.
A unique feature of the HTHCV campus is the planned 5,000 square foot Environmental Research Center that will be used to conduct environmental experiments and research through a combination of specialty labs and classroom spaces in order to provide comprehensive study of environmental chemistry, horticulture, renewable energy, the local watershed, and many other student-driven projects. HTHCV’s focused project learning approach allows students to make real-world connections, facilitating scientific inquiry and enabling the fusion of sustainable practices within a dynamic, integrated curriculum.
New Generation Landscaping
Landscaping accounts for the largest portion of Californian school’s water consumption, and in an era where water conservancy is synonymous with energy conservancy it is important to design a campus to reduce water usage. Instead of creating a lawn that would take large amounts of water to maintain, HTHCV chose to landscape with native and drought resistant plants and trees that are both less invasive and more tolerant to the natural climate. HTHCV also uses reclaimed (non-potable) water to irrigate. Before going into commission, the irrigation system was tested by the contractor for overspray and head coverage, and rain and flow sensors were calibrated. To promote efficiency and to keep water usage to a minimum, all equipment is routinely maintained.
Through San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) Sustainable Communities Program, HTHCV developed a partnership where SDG&E would help with the purchase, installation, and maintenance of a photovoltaic rooftop canopy. These cells can produce up to 118 kW and accounts for 85% of campus energy needs.
“Small Business and other organizations such as High Tech High Chula Vista are the catalysts for an overarching change in how we view our climate and sustain our planet’s resources. It is through a commitment by our cities, counties, and state partnerships, like CoolCalifornia.org that we can spread the word; moving forward one step at a time.” – Lisa Davis, High Tech High Chula Vista
Chula Vista’s first LEED For Schools Gold campus with an environment-focused approach to building and education.
Climate Friendly Actions
- 118 kW photovoltaic system that offsets 85% of building’s energy use. The rest of the energy is purchased from green sources
- Utilizes water efficient fixtures including: waterless urinals, low-flow shower heads, and aerators and sensors on faucets
- Limited the number of parking stalls to promote car pooling, mass transit, and bicycling
- Prime loading and parking areas for carpool and fuel-efficient vehicle types
- Promotes environmentally conscious modes of transport to the student body and employees through an annual transportation study
- Landscaping is designed to minimize water usage
- Utilizes green cleaning in accordance with the American Physical Plant Assoc. (APPA)