Santa Margarita Catholic High School

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Going Green » Commitment to the Environment

Commitment to the Environment

Santa Margarita Catholic High School and the Diocese of Orange are committed to being responsible stewards of the earth God gave us. Both the school's Eagle Athletic Center and Academic Services Center were built with sustainable features to minimize their impact on the environment and demonstrate social responsibility. The school's Eagle Athletic Center, which opened in the spring of 2010, earned LEED silver certification, the first in the both the Diocese of Orange and city of Rancho Santa Margarita with this designation. 
The Academic Services Center, completed in the summer of 2011, is in the process of becoming LEED certified.
What is LEED Certified?
In 2000, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), established the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system as a way to define and measure “green buildings.” In school terms, LEED is like a report card for buildings, demonstrating to the community that a facility is built and/or operated in a way that supports the health and wellbeing of occupants and saves energy, resources, and money. The LEED rating system measures how well a building performs according to several metrics:
  • energy savings
  • water efficiency
  • CO2, emissions reduction
  • improved indoor environmental quality
  • stewardship of resources
Participation in the LEED process is voluntary and demonstrates leadership, innovation and social responsibility.

Characteristics of a Green Building
- Conserves energy and natural resources
- Improves indoor air quality
- Removes toxic materials from places where children learn and play
- Utilizes daylight to reduce energy consumption
- Uses green cleaning practices
- Decreases the burden on municipal water and waste water treatment
- Encourages waste management efforts to benefit the local community and region
- Conserves fresh drinking water and helps manage storm water runoff
- Encourages recycling
- Promotes habitat protection
- Reduces demand on local landfills

Green Buildings – The SMCHS Eagle Athletic Center and Academic Services Center

The Eagle Athletic Center earned a silver-level LEED rating, the second highest level achievable, from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Eagle Athletic Center is the first building in Rancho Santa Margarita and in the Diocese of Orange to receive LEED accreditation. The Academic Services Center is in the process of receiving LEED certification.

Eco-friendly features of the buildings include:

  • Healthy Students: Bicycle racks encourage pedaling to and from school, minimizing the number of cars on the road and air pollution.
  • Local Materials: Local materials such as masonry, concrete, and asphalt paving were used to construct the Eagle Athletic Center, reducing pollution and the consumption of fuel.
  • Indoor Air Quality: Specialized air filters in the Eagle Athletic Center optimize the air quality. Building materials such as wood, flooring products, paints and adhesives contain lower than normal volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which cause indoor air pollution. NO SMOKING is permitted on campus.
  • Water-Wise Landscaping: Drought tolerant plants around the Eagle Athletic center reduce water usage, consuming 50% less water than standard landscaping.
  • Energy-Efficient Windows: Dual-pane windows with insulated glazing control the transfer of heat while still allowing sunlight to enter – reducing energy consumption and the use of artificial lighting.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: To help protect our environment, signage is posted encouraging the recycling of paper, plastic and aluminum.
  • Water Conservation: Low-flow faucets, urinals, toilets and showers help reduce water usage. The Eagle Athletic Center uses 42% less water than a typical building.
  • Recycled Materials: About 10% of the building is constructed out of recyclable materials including the steel beams, clay roof tiles, cabinetry and rubber flooring.
  • Cleaning Products: Environmentally-friendly cleaning products are used the clean the Eagle Athletic Center.
  • Energy Usage: The Eagle Athletic Center uses 21% less energy than the average building, reducing our footprint on the environment and saving the school money over time. A highly efficient, environmentally-friendly HVAC system cools and heats the building

View photos of the Eagle Athletic Center
View photos of the Academic Services Center