New Orleans, La.
Benjamin Franklin High School, known for its educational excellence and national ranking, is a selective charter school adjacent to the University of New Orleans originally built in the 1980s. During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, roughly 50% of the school was damaged by water, which stood for 30 days after the storm. Renovating the restrooms would require structural changes as well as cosmetic improvements; because the building is a completely cement structure, changes would be difficult.
In 2014, a group of students and teachers led by Dr. Mary Gubala, biology teacher, and John Parauka, head of activities, participated in the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Louisiana Chapter’s Louisiana Green School Challenge—a program that aims to educate the public about the benefits of green building and environmental stewardship by participation in hands-on, experiential projects. The school’s “Green for Good” project made Franklin one of nine winning schools out of 40 who competed in the challenge. The Chapter also chose Franklin as its first Green School Showcase; mentors working with the school began soliciting and managing donations to fund the project.
Sloan SOLIS flushometers were among the products donated that were used to make improvements to the two bathrooms adjacent to the auditorium—making them water conserving and energy efficient. SOLIS flushometers not only reduce water consumption, but also minimize energy use. By switching from 3.5 gpf to a 1.6 gpf toilet flushometers, the school could realize a 54% reduction in water use; with another 83% reduction achieved by switching from 1.5 gpf to 0.25 gpf urinal flushometers. The flushometers have helped a high-achieving school in one of the city’s under-resourced school districts become a working model of green building efficiency.