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Cultivating Young Minds: A Net-Zero School for Tomorrow’s Leaders

GBCI: 0090010900

Through a series of interviews with the school faculty and the design team, we explore the creation of a net-zero-energy building that complements the children's studies of the balance of nature.
Eligible for 1 CE HOUR.
  • 1 CE

  • LEED Green Associate
  • LU/HSW

LEED version: v4, v2009

Published on: January 13, 2014

Average: 4.9 (55 votes)


A new Music and Science complex was added to the Hood River Middle School in 2010, earning LEED Platinum certification. Through a series of interviews with the school faculty and the design team, we explore the creation of a net-zero-energy building that complements the children's studies of the balance of nature. Course participants will learn how the project integrated several strategies to create learning opportunities for students to achieve the 'School as a Teaching Tool' credit with one of the most robust sustainable curricula in the world.

The school extends its sustainable education to the community, earning the project another innovation credit for 'Green Building Education'.

The intended audience for this video course include design professionals who work on K-12 projects, school teachers and administrators, and anyone interested in how green buildings can be used as teaching tools to increase occupant and community awareness of environmental issues.


  1. List the requirements for the School as a Teaching Tool credit in LEED for Schools, and describe how the Hood River Middle School integrated them through hands-on learning
  2. Describe the Innovation in Design Green Building Education credit that the HoodRiver Middle School, and differentiate it from the School as a Teaching Tool credit
  3. Relate the synergies amongst the education and participation of the students (ID c3) with Optimizing Energy Performance (EAc1) and On-Site Renewable Energy (EAc2)
  4. Explain strategies used in the project for water efficiency, reduction of material use and enhancing the indoor environment
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Created by

GreenCE, Inc.
San Antonio, TX
United States

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50 commentsLeave a comment

Analyst, Goldman Sachs & Co.

Informative and a great example of LEED processes to engage community and users, I like how the user group in this case was a bit younger (students!) and still had valuable inputs.

Unemployed, none

I wish I attended this school. I think students and adults would learn greatly from this project given its integrated design and emphasis on education.

Architect , none

a good project to learn from simply amazing.

Project Development Engineer, Ameresco, Inc.

Great course!

Full time student, Columbia University

The project is incredible! Especially the garden which is a great example of ecosystem. It's a good example for not only green building education, but also the ecosystem existing around us. Students' involvement makes this a successful project for School as a Teaching Tool. It's a great course that inspires me about how to educate the young people about the green building.

Project Coordinator, FRCH Design Worldwide

I enjoyed this course. Kept my attention and thoroughly explained how the building reached net zero and LEED Platinum. It is great to hear about how this was able to serve as a teaching tool for students as well.

Sustainability, Life Cycle Assessment, Landscaping Design , F R a C T a L

Great course! I hope that we have this kind of thing in Mexico soon!

Project Designer, Interior Investments

Great Course!

Architect, Macro Design Studio srl

Very clear and inspiring!

Student, University of Pennsylvania School of Design

Very interesting and innovative design to achieve LEED and make green building concepts accessible to kids!

Home maker, Self

Interesting and Informative course

Informative and interesting course

INTERIOR DESIGNER, Santa Monica College

I am getting a notice informing me that the video cannot be played as the file is corrupt. Running Mac Book Pro, Firefox. Tried to watch directly and it kept stopping and starting, so I pressed the down load video button and then got the corrupt file notification. Any ideas?


Very informative and engaging course.

Mechanical Engineer, Cosentini Associates LLP

I am incredibly impressed! As a musician and an engineer this was very interesting to me.

Architect, GAS Architects

Very interesting and inspiring

Engineer, Architect, none

Very interesting course! Nice work, designers were able to condense a lot of technology and sustainability solutions in a small project.

Project Manager, Freelance PM

The course is inspiring. As person, I would like that our children could attend a school of this kind so that they grow with LEED's culture as part of their education.

Server/Bartender, Lou Malnati's

Very informative and easy to follow. This should be shared with other educators to be implemented in schools throughout the country.

Mechanical,HVAC/Plumbing and Underground piping Inspection Engr., MANAZEL CONSTRUCTION COMPANY

very informative.


very informational. most interesting is how they get the young students to be very interested in the total conceptualization of the building. I have a question about the stream that they used to tap water from which is also used by the local district. do they have to get permission from the local district to tap from the stream? it was said in the video that rainwater is abundant in the site. why was it ever considered to harvest those rainwater? thank you very much. I really learned a lot from this.

Energy Analysis Student Assistant, Georgia Institute of Technology

The Hood River high school project is an amaizng LEED for School Platinum project! The video is very instructive and I learnt about the whole process of design, preconstruction and energy modeling. Very impressed by the net-zero garden and green house! The kids, teacher as users give their opionions and the designers are also awesome! Love this project and I will share the case study with my classmates and collegues. Thanks for sharing with us!

Interior Designer, Stedila Design Inc.

A beautiful case study of what can be achieved when architecture has meaningful purpose & the people involved on a project are enthusiastic and curious. The building educates just as much as it supports education and continues to improve with the help of it’s occupants. The students, teachers, school district officials, architects & engineers should all be very proud for setting such a wonderful example of what educational facilities can and should be.

Architect, Forest Finance Panama SA

Inspirational and practical information. Makes you want to go back to school.

Architect, Forest Finance Panama SA

Inspirational and practical information. Makes you want to go back to school.

Project Manager, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Inspirational information.


This course was very informational and helpful. It was very interesting and neat learning about another school district and net-zero buildings. This video was very relatable and enjoyable.

Student, American University

Very informative and explains the challenges and successes of building a next zero school center in an interesting manner.

Interior Designer, own

Very informative as case study and a great example as net zero school project.

Project Coordinator , Ryson Interior Construction Ltd

Great video, very informative

IT Infrastructure Manager, Ernst & Young LLP

Very interesting video, use of integrative concepts and sustainable design. Still, I love the idea of placing children to learn more on their own school, inspiring them, making them thinking of the environment. I believe in some of those projects, children get very excited back home telling their parents how cool their school is, in turn helping with education and information to more people.

Undergraduate Teaching Assistant, Purdue University

What a great showcase of the positive impacts of sustainable buildings! I really hope to see more success stories like this in schools all over the US.

Graduate Architect, L+B Design Group

Very inspiring project. Such a great example for a net-zero building, and the way the curriculum at the school is set up to be environmental conscious is truly amazing. Great video.

Energy Consultant, Arizona State University

What an amazing school to be part of.

Architect, Carolyn Ubben Architect PLLC

Very well done engaging video and absolutely a fantastic project. An inspiration for designers and school clients.

Dean F. Unger, AIA, Inc.

It is a good how to do it course. The energy dash board would be easy to copy and like the principal Architect said we need to raise energy consciousness on how much we use.


exciting school project, really like the school as an educational tool idea

Water Resources Engineer, CH2M HILL

Well done and inspirational. This hour went quickly; I could have watched more!

Capital Improvement Program Officer, Prince Georges County Public Schools

Great net zero school and video

Associate, HKS, Inc.

Entertaining, Educational, and Inspiring. Makes me want a greenhouse.

Sustainability Engineer

Very inspiring

Environmental Engineer, LEED AP, USGBC Faculty, Jain Engineering Consultants Intl.
Pro Reviewer

This course exactly met the objectives mentioned above and is very useful not only for designers. It’s also recommended for school owners, principals, teachers.
This course included different project stakeholders other than the main design team. it’s very useful to show how the school team members were directly involved in the integrative design process.
the course structure similar to a documentary was very informative because it displayed actual strategies implemented on a school site related to optimizing energy performance, water efficiency , use of materials project-based learning.

Senior Architect, Leidos

Interesting and educational - excellent LEED specific course

AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Partner, Fredette Architects, PLLC
Pro Reviewer

Structured as a documentary, this informative case study is comprised of a series of concise video interviews with four key project stakeholders. I appreciate this format because it illustrates the diverse perspectives and expertise among project team members.

In addition to the architects’ clear descriptions of the design process and integrative strategies, (as the course name suggests) the school principal and science teacher explain the larger context of the campus, values, goals, integrative curriculum and project-based learning … as drivers of the design. Beyond LEED CMP, this video merits a wider audience including school boards, principals and teachers in other communities, who may relate to and learn much from their counterparts in this video.


Excellent educational experience. This should be shared across the Nation.

LEED Fellow - Principal, The Spinnaker Group

Easy to follow and engaging course. Great example of what can be done on a public school project when all stakeholders are focused on a mission of providing the best learning environment for students.


Great video with fantastic speakers.

Site Structural Engineer, Dar Al-Handasah

Inspiring example for schools

GWS - Facilities Project Manager, Johnson Controls, Inc.

If you have an interest in learning more about real-life examples of net-zero buildings, this is an top notch video.

Senior Interior Designer, Stantec Architecture

Educational, easy to follow and thorough. Would like to share this video with the general public, because it is so inspirational, clean, and simple.

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