Thunder Vista P-8 earns CHPS certification 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - 10:45am
thundervista

School designed to be energy efficient with smaller environmental footprint

Thunder Vista P-8, one of Five Star Schools newest buildings built through the 2016 Bond Program, has earned an important designation. 

The school was officially certified this spring as a Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) Verified School. The certification completed an extensive process that began while the school was in design and continued after its 2018 opening.

The goal of CHPS is to change the design, construction and operation of schools to: protect student and staff health, and enhance the learning environments of school children everywhere; conserve energy, water, and other natural resources and reduce waste, pollution, and environmental degradation.

“The process to design and build a school to align with CHPS standards is an incredibly complex and time-consuming process. I’m proud of the enormous amount of work our building design and construction team as well as our internal staff did to not only pursue this designation but see this work through to certification,” said Five Star Schools Chief Operations Officer Pat Hamilton. “The end result of this hard work is a well-designed, healthy and high-performing facility for our students, staff and community.” 

For Five Star Schools and the Thunder Vista design and construction team, the path to CHPS certification began with the design of the school in 2017 and included meeting strict design and construction standards related to energy use, water use, materials used during construction, waste management during construction, daily light levels, acoustic performance (how much sound travels) and low-impact landscape design.

Among the sustainable features of Thunder Vista, the school was built with 72 geothermal heating and cooling wells to provide higher-efficiency heating, cooling and hot-water delivery in the building. 

The school is also the district’s most energy-efficient building with an Energy Use Intensity of 18.9 (kBtu/sq. ft.) compared to 48.7 for similarly sized middle schools and 69.0 for average schools in the district. This results in lower energy costs and a smaller environmental footprint from greenhouse gases.

The requirements to gain CHPS certification continued once the school opened and the district needed to validate specific operating protocols including: 

  • Meeting the energy and water efficiency standards as designed

  • Good indoor air quality 

  • Proper cleaning and pest management practices

  • Training and education of building occupants about the how and why of the higher performance design

Thunder Vista is one of two schools in the Denver-metro area and five in the state to receive the certification.