Fabric scraps from the denim used to make the blue jeans students are wearing to school today could be insulating the walls in their new classrooms tomorrow. Denim is just one of the recycled materials used in the new Gen7 green classrooms that will soon be seen on campuses throughout California.
Gen7 modular classroom environments are designed to be ultra green – featuring a high amount of recycled and recyclable materials, low- and zero-VOC interiors, and learning-enhancing acoustical design. And, the classroom's innovative smart lighting with natural daylight harvesting, energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems, and solar panels ensure that each classroom is grid-neutral (producing at least as much electricity as it uses). The recycled denim within the classroom's walls and roof serve as both sound insulation and to minimize heat/cooling loss.
Why green schools? Studies show that a healthy environment with improved ventilation and air quality can reduce colds and flu by an average of 51 percent. And, because students and faculty spend 85-90 percent of their time indoors, it's clear to see how a green environment could affect health, learning and productivity.
"Green schools enjoy 20 percent higher test scores, fewer absences, lower healthcare costs and higher teacher retention," explained Tony Sarich, vice president of operations for American Modular Systems (AMS), manufacturer of Gen7. "And these eco-friendly, low-maintenance classrooms save money for the school districts — both in installation costs and energy savings — up to $100,000 per year in direct cost savings and long-term savings of more than 30 percent."
Sarich added that because the Gen7 schoolrooms are modular, they can be installed and ready for students in as few as 90 days. "Without the wait of traditional construction, school districts can quickly and cost-effectively replace aging, inefficient buildings with healthy, sustainable schools that will benefit students for generations."