There has been a push within our school systems to conduct learning beyond the classroom. This new approach is called “instruments of learning,” and refers to elements throughout the building being used as learning tools. Some of these building elements include landscape design, mechanical systems, water conservation and interior design. As facility managers seek to incorporate cutting edge solutions in their buildings, schools are using them to better educate students about school operations and sustainability practices.
- Landscape Design: This includes evaluating the impacts of the school on the environment while also protecting landscaping and natural features. This can educate students about how to incorporate environmentally friendly design solutions, such a erosion control, storm water retention or using greenery needing little irrigation.
- Energy-Efficient Mechanical Systems: This involves incorporating sustainable technology into the curriculum so students can understand the design and environmental impacts of the systems that keep them comfortable throughout the day. Efficient HVAC and controls systems, such as Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology, can teach students how to reduce peak electrical demand and offer cost-saving benefits.
- Water Conservation: This involves the school collecting rainwater for toilet flushing and site irrigation. In addition, waterless or low-flow toilets minimize wastewater and insulated piping can reduce hot water waste. As an educational tool, facility managers can install rainwater gauges, allowing students to monitor annual rainfall.
- Interior Design: This comprises selecting interior elements that reflect the school’s appreciation for the environment. Facility managers can consider incorporating recyclable colored tiles or carpeting to represent the school’s efforts to protect the natural environment. This teaches students that materials, in addition to paper, can be recycled.
At Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric), we support facility managers’ efforts to make their buildings more educational and sustainable. In this issue and on our website, you’ll learn about our smart, flexible technologies that support the instruments of learning trend.