Sustainability Fair Shares Ewa School’s Knowledge With Public

Sustainability is no stranger to Ewa Makai Middle School, which earned the Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for its green building designs last year.

“Ewa Makai’s Gold LEED designation sets a new standard for green school design in Hawaii,” said Sandra Goya, communications director for the state Department of Education.

According to Goya, the school, which opened in January 2011, earned enough points to move up from Silver to Gold certification based on U.S. Green Building Council guidelines.

And the school wants to share the concept of sustainability with the rest of the community from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday on the school’s Ocean Pointe campus through a free sustainability fair for the Green Apple Day of Service, a worldwide movement in which communities work to make schools healthier and more sustainable.

The fair will feature information booths on a range of subjects, including energy and water efficiency, renewable energy, organic gardening and waste management. The sustainability fair also will discuss the benefits of going green and sustainable techniques such as composting and recycling.

The middle school itself is a prime example of sustainable building features. It uses natural daylight from solar tubes, as well as light shelves and skylights that allow natural light to flow into the classroom.

The school also has a stormwater retention system that collects rain runoff for use in landscape irrigation.

All of these changes have resulted in a reduction of electricity use and lower operational costs.

The functional aspects aren’t the only advancements the school has made. The students also are learning about the benefits of sustainable living.

Ask any student who attends Ewa Makai about Recycle Thursday, and they’ll tell you how each classroom rotates the campus recycling duties by collecting and sorting the recyclables into blue bins.

The students also have a School Gardening Club that meets each Wednesday to care for the on-site garden. Last year, the children were able to donate seedlings to the community.

Vermicom posting bins are used to fertilize the garden, and an aquaponics system also was installed.

For more information, call 687-9479.