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d.tech’s LEED Gold Award

Marius Tali | mtali19@dtechhs.org | June 15, 2018

Design Tech High School’s campus is stunning. Its curved design and glass architecture perfectly mirrors the Oracle Campus. However, looks weren’t the only thing that were taken into consideration. The campus was recognized with the LEED gold award on March 29th of 2018. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a globally- recognized green building ranking system which rates buildings by how environmentally friendly and sustainable they are. d.tech’s campus earned the second highest ranking, based on criteria such as “water use reduction”. Alternative modes of transportation, water efficient landscaping, maximized day-lighting, enhanced indoor air quality, sustainably sourced materials, and minimized waste generation are just of the few things our school building has achieved.  

Jamie Dal Porto, a founding d.tech board member, had a large role in overseeing the project. According to Dal Porto, there is a plethora of interesting features that contribute to the LEED acknowledgment. One example is in the awnings located on both sides of the building. They are, in fact, different in material and shape, in order to minimize or maximize heat based on the angle of the sun. Similarly, the glass on both sides of the building is a different material, as varying amounts of light were expected on each side. The windows also have tiny dots on them as a visual cue to birds to avoid collision.

According to Dal Porto, “What most people don’t know about this building is that it’s actually two buildings…The seam runs along the right side of the atrium, and you can actually see it in the ceiling and second floor walkway.”

This separation of buildings is actually for earthquake safety. Such a long narrow building needs to have a seam so the two parts can move freely. Furthermore, according to Dal Porto, there are additional factors including automatic lights, automatic thermostats, native and water efficient plants, and low water use bathrooms.

d.tech’s award stands up to comparable schools. Nueva, a private high school located in Hillsborough and San Mateo, garnered the same LEED Gold award as d.tech’s campus. Meanwhile, other public schools such as San Mateo or Redwood High were built too long ago to even have a shot at receiving such an award.

Some d.tech students recognize the school’s architectural achievements. Sophomore Ethan Shedd says he thinks, “It’s a good idea for d.tech to be making an effort to be eco-friendly.” Shedd adds that he thinks future schools will look back on d.tech making the steps we’ve taken to become the new standard.

Other students aren’t aware of the constraints under which our building was built and the features that earned it LEED accreditation. For example, students know that the AC is wonky, however they don’t know that it’s intentionally built to be more responsive to  the surrounding ecosystem.

d.tech’s campus strikes a  balance between modernity and environmental protection that has allowed it to stand proudly between the slough and Oracle.

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