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Reston P&Z Draft Recommendations for Innovative/Green Schools

posted May 20, 2013, 3:50 AM by JT Traylor
In the past year, the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee (P&Z) has reviewed two Fairfax County Public School renovation plans for Sunrise Valley and Terraset elementary schools.  During P&Z's review of these applications, many questions were asked and concerns were raised about the school renovation plans meeting basic standards for better buildings resulting in less impact on the environment. Subsequently, P&Z invited VMDO Architects, a LEED-certified design firm based in Charlottesville, VA, to present to P&Z on April 15, 2013 and provide information about innovative/green schools in our region. Based on P&Z's review of the school renovation applications, which included helpful input from Reston Association Parks and Recreation, as well as the information provided by VMDO Architects, P&Z has summarized the following list of recommendations for future school development and renovation applications in Reston:
  1. School development and renovation plans should meet the Virginia Collaborative for High Performance (VA-CHPS) criteria at a minimum. Schools should strive to meet LEED standards.
  2. Schools should implement Best Management Practices with no reliance on Stormwater Management waivers.
  3. Schools should follow the Virginia Stormwater Management Regulations, the new Fairfax County Stormwater Management Ordinance and design and construction standards for stormwater control practices. Stormwater should be controlled onsite with attention to the quality and quantity of water runoff affecting the local watershed.
  4. Schools should incorporate environmentally friendly design and construction practices including, but not limited to, solar features, increased tree canopy and green space (rain gardens and rooftop gardens), native species plantings and conservation measures for lighting, energy, and power.
  5. Early communication should be provided for school development and renovation plans. This communication must involve all affected parties and should include public presentations providing the details of the proposed development or renovation plans. The affected parties should include school administration, teachers, students, parents/guardians, neighbors and other affected stakeholders.
  6. Significant consideration should be given to the financial and social advantages of building more environmentally friendly schools, i.e. less construction waste and lower maintenance costs and the positive outcomes on academic performance and student health.
  7. Sustainable transportation guidelines should emphasize bike parking, sidewalks, safe street crossings, adhering to minimum parking standards and circulation layouts that discourage vehicular drop-offs.