Terrazzo contributes to today’s green movement in school construction

Albany Park Middle School in Chicago, IL illustrates one method. A few years ago, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) set forth an initiative that required all new schools to be certified based upon LEED® for New Construction Rating System version 2.1. Some of the environmental features stressed in the design included recycled building components, a motion activated lighting control system to save energy and vegetative-roof surfaces that capture rainwater, return a portion to the atmosphere and lower the roof temperature to conserve energy.

Terrazzo chosen as a flooring option for the project:

The design team at Cannon Design, no stranger to LEED® design, was attracted to terrazzo because of the recycled content from its post-consumer glass composition, low emissions from the epoxy matrix and regional manufacturing characteristic of the epoxy matrix. So potentially, terrazzo as a flooring option could help contribute toward as many as 5 LEED® points depending on how other materials used on the project contributed toward these credits.

When the Albany Park Middle School project’s points were accumulated, the use of terrazzo had the largest impact on the recycled content helping contribute 2 LEED® points toward the project. Not only did the recycled composition help to offer a more environmentally friendly flooring option, but aesthetically terrazzo helped to achieve the targeted design scheme. Each floor of the school was designed in a unique primary color – the first floor was blue, the second floor was green and the third floor was red. The design coordinated the lockers, casework and paints with the terrazzo serving as the anchor of the design. The colors served as address markers for students to identify their home floor.

Environmentally friendly, aesthetically unlimited, terrazzo offered the building owner a highly durable and easy to maintain floor for the lifetime of the building, while providing Cannon Design and CPS a PERFORMING ART for their project’s flooring.

Read the Albany Park LEED Case Study ⇒