Green Building Saves Money While Teaching

Green Building Saves Money While Teaching

Schools are buildings that have teachers inside. This building is a teacher that also has teachers inside.

MEMPHIS – (localmemphis.com) Bridges, an organization that develops young leaders in the Mid-South went green in 2004 and they haven’t looked back. 

Today, they continue to shrink their carbon footprint and their operating cost by hundreds of thousands of dollars while showing kids how to be green. 

It looks like a piece of the Hernando De Soto Bridge. Even cooler than the 5,000 kids that walk through every year is that everything in the building from the window tint to the water heater saves energy, money and the environment. 

If you look through the window tints, the tints are different tints. The tiles are different sizes and that represents what we do here, it’s all about diversity.” says Drew Smith, communications coordinator for Bridges. 

The group tries to show kids there’s more to life than what is in their “bubble”. Their school, their neighborhoods even their carbon footprint. They’re looking for that a-ha! moment. 

“They can scale it down to do it themselves at home. Something like setting out an empty bucket when it rains to save water to water their plants.” says Katie Prestigiacomo, who works directly with students at Bridges. 

I thought I had seen or at least heard of most green ideas, but I couldn’t turn a corner without an a-ha moment of my own. 

Starting at the top of the parking garage there is a solar powered water heater, the carpets are made of recycled plastic bottles, the stairs are recycled steel, there’s even a rooftop garden that uses plants to absorb heat instead of it going straight into the building. 

When this building was constructed they thought of everything down to the shrubbery outside. In the summer, trees lining the outside walls are flush with leaves providing a shady canopy. In the winter the trees shed the leaves allowing the sunshine in, warming the building. This pushes the savings even higher when you think about the buildings upkeep. 

Drew says “It’s strong, it holds up. Our maintenance costs are paint every once in a while and that’s about it.” In the nine years since construction they haven't changed anything, and for good reason. Drew says the average building uses $300 thousand worth of energy each year. This one on Fifth Avenue, only about $100 thousand.

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