Lukachukai Community School Will Open With LEED Certification

The brand new Lukachukai Community School will open on a 44-acre site nestled in the beautiful Chuska mountain range of Lukachukai, Arizona. This K-8 school will feature a student dormitory, bus maintenance facility, community fire station, and staff housing to help retain talented teachers.

The new school will accommodate 400 students with a mission to provide a solid comprehensive curriculum, enrichment, and support for all learners including accelerated learners, English language learners, and students with disabilities.

The Project

With a mission to not only reflect but respect the culture of the Navajo people, DPS Architecture worked thoroughly within the guidelines of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to ensure the design, materials, and sustainability of the new school were never in question.

School board members, school staff, and cultural experts collaborated with the design team on the site location, layout, and inter-relationship of the building’s facilities to ensure the building met the goals of all stakeholders.

The design team at DPS worked with Nez FCI for the construction of the project. This Navaho-owned construction company hired over 400 workers for the project, 90% of which were members of the Navajo Nation.

Work on the project began in January 2020 and is expected to be completed in summer 2022 in time for the 2022-2023 school year.

The Finished Product

The completed project will not only be a school building, but it will be a complex to serve both school and community needs. The project comes complete with multiple age-appropriate play areas to serve the wide developmental ranges of its students.

The entire complex is both student and community-minded in its design. The complex will feature several multipurpose athletic fields that will serve not only the school but the community at large.

The complex also features 19 staff housing units to help with the retention of teachers as well as a maintenance facility for school buses to take care of immediate repairs. The complex will also house a firetruck facility which will assist the community in emergency response situations.

This state-of-the-art facility was also designed and built with sustainability in mind. As such, the Lukachukai Community School will open for the new school year with LEED Silver certification. In all, the new school complex will give the Navajo nation a 21st-century learning environment that strives to respect the past.

Do you want to see how the Green Insight team can find the perfect solution for your sustainable living project?

If so, contact us today. One of our team members will be in touch to discuss your project and your goals while showing you how Green Insight can help you with both.

Fort Collins Townhomes Receive LEED Gold Certification

The city of Fort Collins is often recognized as one of the nation’s most innovative cities in everything from technology to target industries. One of the areas of innovation where Fort Collins is most committed is in green building and residential code compliance.

Fort Collins is focused on designing and constructing buildings that have an eye on modern needs while keeping an eye on the future by reducing the environmental impact that every aspect of building will have. According to the city, “A well-designed building should create a healthy, productive environment for its occupants while lessening the demand for energy and resources.”

Fort Collins builders take their commitment to the environment seriously, and so do we. In this article, we will discuss a recent project we were involved in that created townhomes that were good for residents and good for the environment: Townhomes on Vine.

Project Details

The Townhomes on Vine project consisted of building 49 market-rate townhomes that would provide all the modern amenities homeowners are looking for while still maintaining a commitment to reducing the environmental impact of building them.

These townhomes were the first of two phases of development for this property by developer Old Town Construction, Inc. The second phase will consist of detached single-family homes.

Green Insight worked with developers to make this project LEED® for Homes Gold. Our involvement included:

  • LEED for Homes credit verification
  • Testing during construction and QAD review
  • Energy efficiency recommendations
  • Building material assessments
  • Review of construction documents
  • Specifications and review of project submittals

By partnering with us, Old Town Construction, Inc. had assistance every step of the way to ensure their project qualified for LEED for Homes Gold.

Project Challenges

As with any construction project, there are challenges that need to be addressed along the way. Green building is certainly not the exception.

For this project, one of our challenges (and a challenge we encounter in most developers’ and/or contractors’ first certification) is general unfamiliarity with the program requirements to become LEED for Homes certified.

One thing in this developer’s favor was that Fort Collins residential codes are so strict that following them gets a project pretty close to LEED for Homes Silver level certification on their own. For this project, a few modifications were made to help meet the LEED prerequisites at a low additional cost.

The learning curve when it comes to requirements is a common challenge with green building projects like this. This is especially true if the developer doesn’t provide product submittals or schedule extra inspections with a partner well-versed in LEED prerequisites.

Project Solutions

It took some initial inspections for all stakeholders to be comfortable with the LEED requirements, but our field staff was able to coach the developer through all of them. By the end of the construction, the LEED requirements were just part of regular procedures.

The developer’s team was also onboarded on the use of Green Insight’s online platform Project Insight™, an invaluable tool when it comes to documenting compliance with all the LEED prerequisites and credits.

With these regular inspections and use of Project Insight, the Townhomes on Vine project reached its goal of becoming LEED for Homes Gold Certified and all townhomes have already been pre-sold.

With the successful completion of Phase 1, we anticipate Phase 2 to be even more streamlined and successful.

The Finished Product

The Townhomes on Vine are not the drafty, energy-wasting townhomes that have been on the market for decades. These townhomes have an ENERGY STAR rating of over 80 and HERS scores in the low 50s. What do these scores mean, exactly? These townhomes are quite a bit more energy efficient than the average resale home on the market – they have an average annual utility savings of around $900 per townhome compared to the average home in the U.S.

How was this accomplished? For starters, the insulation and construction techniques used on these townhomes were vastly improved from techniques used only a decade ago. These techniques and their results not only create a more environmentally friendly construction process, but they also save the homeowner money in the long run.

By being LEED Gold Certified, these townhomes not only boast the best in modern construction techniques, but the use of tankless hot water heaters, energy-efficient furnaces, and LED lighting just confirm our commitment to building modern homes with an emphasis on reducing environmental impact for the long run.

Partner with Green Insight for your green building success

If you’re a developer or contractor, you have enough on your plate logistically without adding the robust requirements needed to earn any green building certification. Partnering with Green Insight gives you the know-how when it comes to codes in Fort Collins and beyond.

Green Insight can also help you develop practices that embed practices that will make the entire certification process streamlined.

If you’re ready to talk to one of our team about how we can help you build green, contact us today to discuss your project and your goals.