NLC’s Phi Theta Kappans Get Educated at Lady Bird Johnson Middle School

If there’s anything I learned from being an Officer of Phi Theta Kappa, it’s how crucial research is for Honors in Action. The research that we do is based on the Honors Topic “How the World Works, Global Perspectives” allows us to delve into thinking from an international perspective and find needs in our communities. Our research led us to get in contact and work with Mr. William McCary, the energy manager for the Irving Independent School District (IISD), who has been assisting us with our research. Through him, we toured Lady Bird Johnson Middle School, one of the middle schools in the IISD, to look at energy consumption and air quality within the schools and its buildings. Now we didn’t just tour this school for no reason, and Lady Bird Johnson isn’t your average everyday middle school, it’s a net-zero middle school focusing heavily on sustainability. We were greeted at the gates by Mr. McCary, who introduced us to a cool feature right at the entrance. The carpeted area you step on, right after you enter the school, is designed in a way to get rid of pollutants from your shoes. Right after the entrance comes the main hall, which has clerestory windows across the roof of the whole hallway, allowing for natural light to shine through. The floors are made of 12% recycled material and are also recyclable. In addition, the walls are painted with low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint. From the main hallway, we viewed the omniroom and the library, which both contain Green-guard certified furniture. The library is surrounded by a huge windowed wall, allowing natural light to pour into the library and the omniroom contains purge ports for the Geo thermal HVAC system, which they utilize to teach the students as well. All the classrooms have an exterior window allowing natural light to come into the classrooms. They all have day lighting sensors, which monitor the amount of light entering the room, thus dictating the amount of artificial light needed. We explored the inverter room, which contains the equipment converting the power collected from the solar panels on the roof from DC to AC. The inverter then connects to a meter which allows the power to be uploaded onto the grid as electricity. The roof of the school contains solar panels, and the color is white, allowing light to reflect onto the panels, increasing the amount of energy taken in and reducing the amount of heat gained. Our minds were in awe as we journaled and absorbed the information like sponges. The middle school is displaying incredible feats through sustainability, and the kids who attend are blessed to attend such a school. Our Chapter’s visit to Lady Bird Johnson Middle School is one to remember for a long time.

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