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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 14, 2004

Waipahu in vanguard of earth-friendly design

More often than not, school cafeterias turn out to be cavernous, chaotic, stuffy places that reek of institutional food and humanity.

But that's not in the cards for Waipahu Intermediate School, which is to be the beneficiary of a $4.9 million cafeteria to be designed according to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design criteria, a nationally recognized rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Under the principles of "green" or sustainable development, the Waipahu cafeteria will let in natural light to reduce the need for electricity. Louvered windows will let in cool air, while thermal chimneys in the roof will suck the hot air out of the building. Recycled building materials will be used throughout. It makes so much sense that one wonders why all our public buildings aren't constructed with the same environmentally friendly principles in mind.

As for Waipahu Intermediate, with some 1,400 students and growing, it has been without a cafeteria for 40 years, and couldn't be more deserving of this pilot project.

Other projects built according to green design principles include the new Weinberg building at Iolani School and the Case Middle School at Punahou, whose earth-friendly features include self-regulating lights, waterless urinals and school lockers made out of recycled milk cartons.

What better way to teach children about how to create more healthy, energy-efficient environments and cut down on utility bills?