The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) made a new assessment tool for green schools in Texas available for public review this week. The tool, called the Texas CHPS Criteria (TX-CHPS), creates a benchmark for the design and construction of Texas high performance school buildings that are efficient, comfortable, environmentally responsible, and healthy spaces.
“Given the amount of new school construction in Texas and with Texas schools serving over 6.5 million students, it was imperative that a state-specific assessment tool be made available to school districts who want to invest wisely in green, healthy, high performance schools,” said Charles Eley, executive director of CHPS. “We invite all stakeholders to participate in making this tool the best it can be by submitting comments during the public review period.”
For the past several months, a Texas-based advisory committee, representing a broad range of school construction and operation stakeholders, developed TX-CHPS. The committee drew on the work of other states in the CHPS program to adapt the CHPS Criteria to the specific codes and regulations, climates, constraints, and local priorities of the state. The committee was also charged to ensure that the spirit and stringency of CHPS was upheld in TX-CHPS.
“TX-CHPS is a very unique K-12 high-performance design criteria in the fact that it was developed by Texans for Texas schools,” said Rick Blan, AIA, a principal at PBK Architects, who served on the Texas CHPS Advisory Committee. “This was truly a Texas effort to provide school districts with design and cost options when it comes to building high performance, sustainable schools”.
TX-CHPS applies not only to the design and construction of new schools, but also to major modernizations and additions to existing school campuses. Schools that pursue TX-CHPS will be supported by the CHPS organization throughout the design, construction and operation process.
The addition of TX-CHPS to the green building market in Texas also provides a Texas-tailored option to policymakers at the district and state level. “We are hopeful that the CHPS-Texas program will show our state legislators and leaders there are cost effective programs available to Texas for implementing high performance and environmental sustainable strategies,” said Roy J. Sprague, AIA, REFP, assistant superintendent of facilities and construction for Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, the third largest school district in the state.
TX-CHPS will help to ensure that Texas schools have access to appropriate tools and resources to build facilities that can improve student and staff health, improve student performance, increase a sense of community, reduce environmental impact, and reduce operating expenses. Texas joins a collaborative of 10 other states that have adaptations of the CHPS Criteria, including California, Washington, New York, Massachusetts and many northeastern states.
The Texas CHPS Criteria can be downloaded and commented on by visiting: http://www.chps.net/review/2009Edition/texas. This is the first public review period for TX-CHPS. Comments are due by November 21, 2008. Texas schools will be able to begin using TX-CHPS in 2009.
CHPS is a 501c(3) non-profit headquartered in San Francisco, CA.