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Published: Tuesday, 10/27/2009

It's nice going green

BLADE STAFF

It's official. The LHS Alternate Learning and Career Center in Oregon has gone green.

The new $2 million facility at 40 South Wheeling St. was completed in 2008, but last week got its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification.

The distinction means the 11,700-square-foot building, which serves children with severe behavioral problems, has followed requirements laid out by the U.S. Green Building Council, which runs the LEED program, and has used a design and materials that are conducive to environmental and human health and energy efficiency.

The LHS building is only the second school building in Ohio to earn the LEED certification, according to Kent Buehrer, whose firm, the Buehrer Group Architecture and Engineering Inc. designed and oversaw the project.

The LEED program emphasizes the importance of reusing materials, something the LHS building did in a big way by including a barn dating to the 1860s.

The barn was moved from the city of Oregon's right-of-way on Wheeling to a 100-foot setback and serves as the school's cafeteria.

"It was going to have to be moved or destroyed," said Harry Blackmon, executive director of LHS Family and Youth Services, an affiliate of the Lutheran Home Society. "It was my idea that we move it and turn it and use as a cafeteria. It's an heirloom."

The old barn's trusses and boards are plainly visible inside, but they belie the energy saving upgrades. Mr. Buehrer said rigid insulation was installed on the roof deck, and the hanging industrial light fixtures have compact fluorescent bulbs. The barn, which is at the south end of the facility, also has light tubes extending to the roof that act as skylights.

The rest of the facility, which is new construction, is equipped with the latest energy-efficient heating plant and low-flow faucets and toilets, Mr. Buehrer said. The insulated windows have three panes.

As much as possible, materials came from within a 500-mile radius, as stipulated by the LEED program. "It takes energy to bring this to the job site," he said.



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