Marina High students build eco-friendly house

A group of Marina High School seniors from two departments collaborated and built a house for the future.

About 30 students from the Construction Technology and Advanced Placement Environmental Science departments incorporated scientific techniques to build the 20-by-16-foot house that provides natural lighting almost year round, and saves and generates energy without a single solar panel.

The house was built with passive solar techniques that cool it down during the summer and heat it during the winter, said construction teacher Bob Meade.

The thermal mass material holds energy generated from the sun's heat or wind and circulates it throughout the house. A tunnel was also built under the house to pull air in and circulate it, and light shelves were installed to allow sunlight to bounce off during the day and fill the house with natural light.

"If the entire Southwestern states started utilizing these construction techniques, it would save billions and billions of dollars in fuel," Meade said.

Marina's construction program, the only one of its kind in the district, allows students to experience the construction process the way it's done in the real world.

The project was required as part of the students' senior curriculum. Last year, the senior construction class also built a house, but this year, the students took on a bigger challenge and built it with the environment in mind.

Meade and science teacher Michelle Pizzorno worked with their respective students to bring the house to life. It took the students three months to design it, but just two days to assemble it.

Once it was up, the students provided tours of the house and shared with the rest of the school their techniques and process.

Environmental science students Andrew Leon and Cole Thompson, both 18, were in charge of the tours and making informational posters.

Thompson said the project reaffirmed his desire to study environmental science in college.

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