LEED and CHPS at Chartwell

In designing our new campus, Chartwell made student health and learning our highest priorities.  Chartwell adopted practices that follow widely accepted standards for both high performance schools and environmental design.


The U.S. Green Building Council's standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.  Chartwell was awarded LEED certification at the highest level, LEED Platinum, in 2008.

LEED emphasizes scientifically researched, continuously updated, state-of-the-art strategies forsustainable site development, water consumption, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.  Since building operations account for 36% of all U.S. energy use, 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, 40% of raw materials use, and 12% of potable water use, it makes sense to build more efficiently.  Goals include improved health and productivity, reduced operating costs, reduced impacts on local communities and the natural environment, and a healthy, sustainable future.

The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)

Organized in 2000, CHPS is a non-profit organization that works to raise the standard for California school facilities.  In 2006, Chartwell received Certification from CHPS, receiving the highest score to date.  Chartwell remains the highest rated CHPS school campus in the nation.  CHPS's goal is to improve the quality of education for California's children and facilitate the design of learning environments that are resource efficient, healthy, comfortable, well lit, and contain the amenities needed for a quality education.  These standards were established in consultation with representatives from a broad range of representatives from California private industry, government, and non-profit organizations.  Priorities include daylighting, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, maintenance, commissioning and training, acoustics, sustainable materials, water conservation, and waste reduction.

Did it cost more?

We limited extra initial cost to 5-10% above conventional design for each item.  Using life cycle cost analysis, which includes savings on operating costs, the high performance, green features of our new campus will eventually more than pay for themselves and result in long-term savings in operating costs.  They will also enhance learning outcomes for students.

Here are some of the ways Chartwell has followed LEED and CHPS protocols.

  1. Chartwell selected a site that had been previously developed, but was no longer needed by the U.S. Army.  After the site was declared free of explosive ordinance, we began construction, limiting our new campus to the previously developed portion of the site, and preserving 20 acres of coastal oak woodlands and marine chaparral.  We corrected previous erosion and storm-water runoff problems, designed lighting to reduce light pollution, chose roofing and landscaping materials to minimize any potential heat-island effects, and provided charging and changing facilities for alternative transportation.
  2. Daylighting has been shown to enhance student outcomes in language arts and mathematics.  Well-designed, natural lighting also reduces the need for electricity, thus saving energy.  Chartwell's campus uses large windows and skylights to maximize these benefits.
  3. Energy efficiency reduces operating expenses, conserves natural resources, and reduces pollution.  Chartwell uses a 30 kw photovoltaic system to convert solar energy to electricity.  The solar system is expected to produce more than 53 million Watt-hours of electricity per year and will offset the production of 54,000 pounds of CO2 annually, the same as planting 8 acres of trees.  The system will also eliminate 1.3 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 16 pounds of nitrous oxide each year.  Our electric meter often runs backwards as we furnish power back to the grid.  Radiant floor heating produces heat where students need it, while excellent insulation and glass selected to conduct light but not heat also help conserve energy.  Energy use will be 60% or more below that of similar, conventional buildings.
  4. Chartwell's buildings will use 60% less water than conventional buildings.  Chartwell conserves waterthrough state-of-the-art fixtures, water-efficient landscaping, and a cistern for rainwater storage and use.  We have put systems in place to connect to a planned regional recycled water system for irrigation as soon as it becomes available.
  5. Good indoor air quality protects student health.  Chartwell has selected furnishings, finishes, materials and equipment specifically designed to eliminate pollution from volatile organic compounds and other sources. CO2 sensors adjust natural ventilation as needed.  Our construction crews were also attentive to adequate ventilation and good indoor air quality during the building and finishing process.
  6. Acoustics are especially important for Chartwell students, since some have difficulty hearing sounds accurately, and others must work hard to focus attention.  We have designed and built to eliminate or greatly reduce mechanical and outside noise, and improve communication within each classroom.
  7. We maintain a regular maintenance schedule for ongoing energy efficiency and to prevent breakdowns.  This, plus environmentally safe cleaning products, helps produce an excellent teaching and learning environment.
  8. There is much to learn about our many innovative systems, so teachers and staff are involved incommissioning, to be sure that all of our building features are working as expected, and training to adjust and use them properly.
  9. Chartwell used sustainably harvested, certified lumber for construction.  Materials include reclaimed wood, carpet and flooring made from recycled or sustainably produced natural materials, and even green concrete, produced in ways that greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  10. We designed to minimize waste during construction, and also constructed our campus so we can re-use of building components as needs change over time.  During construction and also when removing a pre-existing structure, 80% or more of unused materials were recycled instead of impacting local landfills.  Students and faculty make recycling and composting a strong part of ongoing operations.