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Kudos to Derrick Kolus for his excellent...

Kudos to Derrick Kolus for his excellent research on energy-efficient

school buildings. It has been clear since the topic of dual-pane

windows was first raised in the Budget Advisory Committee almost a

year ago that BUSD has neglected to do its homework on research-based


school design.

We took up Derrick on his challenge to “make the call” and he gave

us some additional information. According to Lisa Heschong of the

Heschong Mahone Group, the practice of lowering classroom ceilings


should be outlawed. But architect John Thomas is planning to lower

the ceilings at John Muir Middle School.

While making it easier to cool a classroom, the lower ceilings

don’t allow for hot, stale air to rise with natural ventilation. Low

ceilings also prevent natural “daylighting” which can save energy by

allowing the electric lights to be off. Daylighting has been shown to

improve student performance by up to 20%. You can watch a video of

Heschong’s comments at


According to Pam Peak, the California representative for the

EnergySmart Schools Program, the school board of LAUSD has adopted a

resolution mandating all future LAUSD construction or renovation

conform to Collaborative For High Performance Schools (CHPS)

guidelines. LAUSD will build or renovate more than 120 schools in the

next decade.

The Burbank Teachers Assn. requests that the BUSD Board of

Education invite EnergySmart Schools conduct a free two-hour seminar


for the school board and Bond Oversight Committee members on the

topic of high-performance school-design practices. We also believe

BUSD should freeze all planning and design in progress until the

seminar has been conducted.


Co-Presidents, Burbank Teachers Assn.