Vernonia's new school aims at LEED Platinum

The new school for the town of Vernonia is set to achieve LEED Platinum on a less-than-platinum budget.

The new school for the town of Vernonia is set to achieve LEED Platinum on a less-than-platinum budget.

The new K-12 school building for the city of Vernonia, set to open this fall, is set to achieve LEED Platinum certification, but was built within the budget for a conventional school building.

The work of Boora Architects, Lango Hanson Landscape Architects and P&C Construction, the school is expected to provide energy savings of about 55 percent compared to a typical public school.

Last week, the companies behind the $40 million project, along with students from Portland State Community College Rock Creek, donated time to plant 197 trees and plants to keep the landscaping schedule on track.

The school's original buildings were destroyed by floods in 2007.

Christopher Linn, a principle at Boora, said the building's construction budget was $181.75 per square foot, well within the median average budget for new schools in Oregon.

"We are most proud of this accomplishment because it demonstrates that highly sustainable design does not have to cost more money," Linn said in a press release. "We see the project as removing a lot of the preconceived barriers that still exist in the design and construction world."

Green features of the school building include:

• A building envelope design to maximize energy efficiency.

• Two solar energy systems, one roof-mounted and one pole-mounted, that will provide about 8 percent of the school's energy needs.

• Radiant in-floor heating and cooling.

• Locally sourced materials including the Forest Stewardship Council-certified exterior cedar siding from a mill 175 miles from the school.

• Heat provided by a biomass boiler powered by pellets made from waste sawdust at the local plywood mill.

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