Sustainable School Earns LEED Gold in Hawaii

Group 70 International is paving the way toward a greener future for Hawaii students.

Hawaii Baptist Academy’s new Art and Science Building has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) this month.

Hawaii Baptist Academy

Hawaii Baptist Academy Art and Science Building in Honolulu

The project has been designed by Honolulu-based Group 70 International, which ranks as Hawaii’s largest locally owned design firm. The group is currently pioneering the state’s green school scene by designing the most sustainable educational facilities in Hawaii.

Besides water saving methods and materials selection, one of the key sustainable design features incorporated into HBA’s new building involves the use of a combination of direct digital controls, light sensors and occupancy sensors. This “smart system” regulates central air conditioning and lighting in each room and automatically adjusts the temperature and brightness based on the number of bodies present, saving approximately 34 percent of the energy used by a standard building.

“After having gone through the certification process nearly a decade ago with Group 70 when they designed our middle school campus, we were well aware of the complexities involved with attaining LEED Gold,” Ron Shiira, executive vice president of Hawaii Baptist Academy, said in prepared remarks. “It’s laborious but we remained steadfast, and our partners at Group 70 have again helped us realize our dream of creating a state-of-the-art building that allows us to be good stewards of the resources with which we have been so richly blessed. We are overjoyed to receive such recognition by the USGBC.”

“We commend Hawaii Baptist Academy for its dedication to helping pave the way for the next generation of schools that are healthy, energy efficient and environmentally friendly,” said Group 70 President & COO Charles Kaneshiro, AIA, LEED AP, principal in charge of HBA and nearly one dozen other LEED certified educational projects. He added that the use of the school building itself as a teaching tool can help students understand the value of sustainable design, an understanding they’ll carry with them into the community long after they’ve left the classroom.

With 34 LEED Accredited Professionals (APs), Group 70 employs the largest body of LEED professionals within one company in the state of Hawaii. Kaneshiro was among the first in the state to become a LEED AP and was nominated as the first green school advocate for the state of Hawaii in 2007.

Photo credits: David Franzen Photography