Upper Marlboro school shares its ‘green’ with the community -- Gazette.Net


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Beneath Barack Obama Elementary School runs a series of geothermal tubes that heat the school. Sixth-grader Xander Summerlot, 11, doesn’t think it’s practical for his house, but he said he enjoyed learning about it and other environmentally friendly initiatives at his school.

“It’s really cool,” Summerlot said. “I did not know there was that much stuff.”

Summerlot, other Obama Elementary students and their parents attended the school’s Green Apple Initiative in our Neighborhood, an event Saturday where teachers and school officials set up stations to teach visitors about the school’s sustainable energy initiatives, such as its recycled glass floors, reused rain water and geothermal tubing that heats the school by transferring heat from the earth’s soil into the school. The event was part of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools’ Green Apple Day of Service, a global event to promote sustainable initiatives.

Obama Elementary opened in 2010 as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified school — a building standard for eco-friendly facilities awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council — but this is the first time the school has participated in the Green Apple Day of Service, Harmon said.

“Any tidbit or bites of information that teach them, that will hopefully transfer to the households,” Harmon said.

Parents Wesley Johnson and Candace Johnson of Upper Marlboro attended the event with their daughter, first-grader Alexis Johnson, 6. They said the event was informative, learning about the recycled floor and using large windows to allow for indoor light and save electricity.

“We think it is great for the community that they are helping to preserve the environment,” Wesley Johnson said.

Manitia Lane of Upper Marlboro said she liked knowing her daughter, who attends the school, and other students are learning little things add up, such as putting a filled up water bottle in the toilet, which can lower the amount of water on each flush.

“It means a lot to our community for our children to know they can make a difference,” Lane said.

ccook@gazette.net