Broughal Middle School, Lehigh’s neighbor and educational partner, has been recognized as a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. The designation honors schools that are a model in environmental consciousness.
Broughal is being cited for its efforts to reduce environmental impact, improve the health of students and staff, and integrate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education with civic skills and green career pathways.
Three other Pennsylvania schools received the Green Ribbon designation from the education department.
Located next to the STEPS building, Broughal is a partner in a community school program run by the Center for Developing Urban Educational Leaders (CDUEL) in Lehigh’s College of Education, the United Way and other local groups.
The program seeks to make schools centers of community life by enlisting parents and families, and by providing academic programs and mentoring.
Through the partnership, Broughal sixth-graders are take part in a food-composting project, using small classroom composters designed by Lehigh students. The compost will be used to enrich soils in a greenhouse and in community gardens.
Preparing students for science careers
Eighth-graders at Broughal are working with Lehigh students to monitor air quality at the school and in surrounding neighborhoods.
Broughal’s new school building, which opened in 2009, was designed as a STEM Signature School to provide students with STEM courses and improve their opportunities to attend college and prepare for science and technology careers. The new building is built for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certification and designed to save energy, boost water efficiency, reduce emissions and improve indoor environmental quality.
The school has significantly reduced water consumption by installing a rainwater collection system. A 7,600-gallon cistern in the center of the school collects rainwater, which is used to flush toilets and irrigate the grounds. The school has also installed waterless urinals, low-flow faucets and sensors on sinks and toilets. To limit water runoff, the school’s parking deck is housed below the school and has a green rooftop.
Broughal uses a highly efficient HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system and runs on set temperature points, which are triggered through a VAV (variable air volume) device. Classroom lighting is controlled through motion sensors, large windows and sky lighting that maximize natural sunlight.
As a STEM Signature School, Broughal offers courses in food science, robotics, astronomy, television production and environmental engineering. Students grow food in a greenhouse and in community gardens.