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L.A.’s First Net Zero Energy Classrooms Teach by Example

Los Angeles, CA, March 26, 2012 – Students at Los Angeles’ Brentwood School have a new teacher—their classroom. Four new GEN7 high-performance classrooms opened to students in January, continuing the school’s ongoing commitment to environmental responsibility, while educating students on the value of energy efficiency.

Designed to pursue LEED Gold certification, the state-of-the-art GEN7s provide a new wing of healthy, productive learning space called the Academic Village. Roof-mounted solar panels make the Academic Village a Net Zero Energy building, generating enough power to fulfill 100% of its yearly energy requirements. Large low-E view windows and Energy Star™ skylights invite natural light, and a dedicated outdoor ventilation system circulates 100% fresh, filtered air. The result is an optimized educational environment that makes renewable energy part of the everyday classroom experience.

“We’ve been in our new GEN7 classrooms less than two months, and we’ve been saving energy from the very first day,” said Mike Riera, Brentwood School’s Head of School. “Our students are excited to not just learn, but to see and experience what a difference they can make. GEN7 empowers them to do more.”

By the end of February, the GEN7 solar system produced 4.04 MWH of energy, enough to power 134 homes for a day. It offset 2.79 tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of planting 72 trees. Over the course of the year, the Brentwood GEN7s are expected to reduce energy usage by 70%, while significantly lowering the school’s environmental footprint.

It’s closer to a fantasy world than any of us would have dreamed.

But the greatest impact may be on the students themselves. “The Academic Village provides exactly the type of learning environment that inspires me to create new, engaging lessons for my students,” said Todd Ballaban, Middle Division Teacher. And the students appreciate the interactive approach, from big screen smartboards that incorporate media into their daily lessons to the “green button” that allows them to control their classroom’s comfort.

“When pressed, the green button stimulates the active flow of natural air into the classroom, one of the incredible designs of the room,” Ballaban said. “Combined with the skylights, this natural air flow can keep students more awake and responsive in class. It’s closer to a fantasy world than any of us would have dreamed.”

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