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Padrón Elementary School LEEDs the Way, Earns Two More Green Building Awards for AISD

School facility recognized for sustainable features

Wednesday, Austin ISD celebrated its second school recognized for sustainability efforts. Jaime Padrón Elementary School received LEED Gold certification through the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and the Green Building 4-star Award from Austin Energy.

Padrón, opened in fall 2014, is an adaptive reuse of a former industrial facility, with 57 educational spaces on two levels, a cafeteria, assembly space, kitchen and administrative space fit into the warehouse space. Padrón is the district's largest elementary school and the first adaptive reuse project undertaken by the district. 

“We were able to use a lot of the envelope of the building so we didn’t have to rebuild that. We used part of the roof to create a covered play space for the children out behind the cafeteria, and many other parts of the old building were repurposed for student use,” said AISD Executive Director of Facilities Paul Turner.

The Texas comptroller's office also recognized the school for reducing the overall cost of construction by using an existing building. Nearly 90 percent of the waste produced by the school's construction was later recycled.

The 143,000-square-foot elementary school was built through the 2008 Bond Program to help relieve overcrowding in the north central area of the district. As part of the voter-approved bond, funds in each construction project were committed specifically for environmental and energy-saving measures.

The school is also home to AISD's largest solar array. The 245 kW array is expected to produce more than 300,000 kWh per year, which is equivalent to approximately 24 percent of the building's anticipated annual energy consumption. The solar array's performance is displayed in real time at a kiosk in the main hallway of the school, and is used for lessons on energy, science or the environment.

Austin Energy General Manager Jackie Sargent praised the partnership between the city and AISD.

“Austin Energy is committed to helping our community reduce electricity use. The collaboration between AISD and our Austin Energy Green Building program has resulted in a truly unique facility that students, teachers, parents and administrators can be proud of,” she said.