Global Green USA, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, completed a three-year project in January to make Andrew H. Wilson Elementary School one of the most energy-efficient schools in the country. Solar energy now heats 90 percent of the water in the kitchen, and the school's electrical system also is powered by the sun. Outside, a 12,000-gallon cistern collects and stores rainwater to hydrate the greenery. Designers created a quieter classroom setting with better acoustics and more natural light (shaded by solar screens).
According to Global Green, learning in these conditions can increase students' performances and also can lead to higher rates of teacher retention. Global Green awarded the school $300,000 with the help of the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund and provided technical expertise to designers.
Andrew H. Wilson will not be the city's only sustainable school, however. Global Green is working on a $420,000 project at L.B. Landry High School in Algiers, which will open in August. — Brandon Meginley