Sustainability is part of the Loretto mission, and we prioritize it across our campus – especially in our building design and use. St. Mary’s Academy challenges its designers to use green initiatives including alternative energy resources and efficient water consumption.
Loretto Land Ethic states: Renewable energy sources be given primary consideration, and that when necessary, non-renewable resources be used efficiently and for long-term beneficial purposes.
Opening May 2015, this building is the newest addition to our 24-acre campus featuring the Duncan Lunch Room, fine arts studios, foreign language classrooms, and a dedicated space for before and after school care. The 2015-16 school year introduced the Junior Kindergarten facility, featuring age-appropriate restrooms, extensive safety features, and an outdoor classroom accessed directly from their indoor space.
Geothermal Design was introduced in the new Community Center. Utilizing the earth’s near constant temperature, geothermal design allows less energy use than a conventional air source heat pump. The building uses 60% less energy through the geothermal system, energy efficiency, and passive solar design, including natural ventilating and shading to reduce air conditioning load. Lights are managed with occupancy sensors and photosensors inside and outside the building.
Solar panels were first installed on SMA’s campus in 2011 on the roofs of the Lower School and Bishop Evans Sports Center. The solar grid produces energy to those buildings, and allows SMA to sell the energy overage back to the grid. In four short years, these installations have afforded SMA to net out the energy costs in these two buildings.
Pam Bent Nike Grind Turf Field on Biddle Fields
The first 100 percent Nike Grind Field in Colorado was installed in April 2015. Nike Grind provides a safe alternative to recycled tire crumb. The use (and reuse) of recycled Nike athletic shoes provides assets in addition to safety.
Health and Productivity
The optimal use of daylight in classrooms is proven to enhance the health, happiness, and ability of students to concentrate and learn. We use low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, glues, and adhesives to improve air quality. Due to the natural light available in the Community Center, additional lighting is unnecessary saving energy and related costs.
Water-Efficient Landscaping: Community Center
Using plant species that are drought resistant and able to thrive naturally in our area eliminates the need to irrigate, saving water, and energy. Planting native species and non-invasive adaptive plant varieties also preserves local biodiversity.