Education News

Houston To See New Generation Of Green Schools

Houston is known as the energy capital of the world. But there's also a growing focus on saving energy. On Tuesday, the U.S. Green Building Council recognized one of the newest green buildings in Houston.

The old campus at Cunningham Elementary lacked some pretty basic features.

Principal Nancy Mercado-Lopez says there wasn’t enough power to handle all the computers. There was barely any natural light, and there weren’t enough bathrooms.

“We had a schedule when the children could go to the restroom. It was challenging, to say the least.”

The Houston Independent School District spent $16.5 million to build a new school and Cunningham Elementary reopened last year. Now it has modern technology and is energy efficient. Even the toilets are designed to save water. Technically, it’s called LEED certified.

“It stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.”

That’s Joanna Yaghooti. She is with the architecture firm that designed the school.

“You can kind of think of it a little bit like the National Historic Registry. This is almost the exact same thing, but it’s recognized for its green features instead.”

Cunningham Elementary is one of just ten green schools in HISD. Superintendent Terry Grier says 20 more schools will be certified soon.

“Building these types of schools, I believe, not only is a responsible action on behalf of our board of education staff, it also teaches the young people who go to school in these facilities the importance of this type of action.”

After the district finishes its $2 billion bond, there could be as many as 85 green schools in Houston.

From the KUHF education desk, I’m Laura Isensee.

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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