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Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)

 Studies show that children perform best in comfortable classrooms with good lighting, clean air, and good acoustics. Founded in 1999, Collaborative for High-Performance Schools (CHPS) is a nonprofit organization focused on the health of students and staff, conservation of resources, and reduction of waste. Although the program was developed by California’s major utility companies for California K-12 educational facilities, CHPS has become a national organization concerned with all aspects of high performance.

What began as a program between the California Energy Commission (CEC) and gas and electric companies in California has grown to include a diverse range of government agencies, school districts, non-profit organizations and private companies. CHPS is focused on the development of high performance design, construction, and operation to enhance the performance of the building and positively impact students.

CHPS Criteria covers 7 building categories. These include:

1. Integration – Design Team, School Master Plan, High Performance Transition Plan, Education Display and Demonstration Areas, Climate Change Action and Carbon Footprint Reporting, Innovation Design, District-wide Sustainability Planning.

2. Indoor Environmental Quality – HVAC Design (ASHRAE 62.1), Enhance Filtration, Dedicated Outdoor Air System, Pollutant & Chemical Source Control, Water Resistance and Moisture Management, Outdoor Moisture Management, Ducted Returns, Construction Indoor Air Quality Management, Post Construction Indoor Air Quality, Low Emitting Materials, Low Radon, Thermal Comfort (ASHRAE 55), Individual Controllability and Systems, Daylight and Views, Lighting Performance, Acoustical Performance, Low-EMF Wiring, Thermal Displacement Ventilation, Mercury Reduction.

3. Energy – Energy Performance, Solar Ready, Zero Net, Commissioning, Outdoor Air Quality, Environmental Preferable Refrigerants, Energy Management System and Submetering, Natural Ventilation, Low Carbon, Electric Vehicle Charging, Energy Conservation Interlocks.

4. Water – Indoor and Outdoor Water Use, Irrigation System Commissioning, Water Management System, Demonstration Rainwater Catchment.

5. Sites – Site Selection, Environmental Sensitive Land/ Preserve Greenspace & Parklands, Minimize Site Disturbance, Construction Site Runoff Control and Sedimentation, Grading and Paving, Post Construction Stormwater Management, Central Location, Joint Use Facility, Bicycle Parking, Human Powered Transportation, Reduce Heat Island Landscape, Cool Roof, Light Pollution Reduction, School Gardens, Native Plants.

6. Materials & Waste Management – Storage & Collection of Recyclables, Construction Site Waste Management, Recycled Content, Rapidly Renewable Materials, Certified Wood, Materials Reuse, Environmental Product Declaration, Building Reuse.

7. Operations & Metrics – Facility Staff & Occupant Training, Post-Occupancy Transition, Performance Benchmarking, High Performance Operations, Systems Maintenance Plan, Indoor Environmental Management Plan, Green Cleaning, Integrated Pest Management, Anti-Idling Measures, Additional Anti-Idling Measures, Green Power.

VCA Green serves as a CHPS consultant for new schools, new buildings on existing campuses, and alterations. Through close coordination with school districts and designers, we utilize our design, construction and building operations experience to prepare documentation needed for certification.

Early in the Design Phase we provide a thorough CHPS Workshop #1, where we discuss the district and design team goals and feasibility, and present a preliminary scorecard. During this time, we assist in the development of demonstration areas, and present a Green Building and Energy Code baseline for our energy model. The CHPS Workshop #2 reviews a more extensive scorecard, discusses possible conflicts, and distributes a list of final items needed to meet the project goals. VCA also provides commissioning services that easily tie in during the Design Phase coordination for a more consistent CHPS Submittal Package. Our in-house commissioning agents provide Design Review of equipment and controls to help maximize performance by eliminating over designed systems.

During construction, we provide a kickoff meeting with key trades where we communicate strategies, common errors, documentation procedures, and overall green building practices. Part of our involvement includes key product and equipment submittal review, field verification visits, and diagnostic testing such as HERS and Commissioning. Once all CHPS project goals have been verified, a final CHPS Submittal is presented for certification review.

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