Sustainability is part of the Loretto mission and we prioritize it across campus - especially in our building design and use. St. Mary's Academy challenges its designers to use green initiatives, including alternative energy resources and efficient water consumption.
The Loretto Land Ethic states: Renewable energy sources be given primary consideration, and, that when necessary, non-renewable resources be used efficiently and for long-term beneficial purposes.
Geothermal Design was introduced in the new Community Center. Utilizing the earth’s near constant temperature, geothermal design allows less energy use than a conventional air source heat pump. The building uses 60% less energy through the geothermal system, energy efficiency, and passive solar design, including natural ventilating and shading to reduce air conditioning load. Lights are managed with occupancy sensors and photosensors inside and outside the building.
Solar panels were first installed on SMA’s campus in 2011 on the roofs of the Lower School and Bishop Evans Sports Center. The solar grid produces energy to those buildings, and allows SMA to sell the energy overage back to the grid. In four short years, these installations have afforded SMA to net out the energy costs in these two buildings.
Nike Grind Turf Field
The Pam Bent Nike Grind Turf Field on Biddle Fields features the first 100 percent Nike Grind Field in Colorado, installed in April 2015. Nike Grind provides a safe alternative to recycled tire crumb. The use (and reuse) of recycled Nike athletic shoes provides assets in addition to safety.
Health and Productivity
The optimal use of daylight in classrooms is proven to enhance the health, happiness, and ability of students to concentrate and learn. Due to the natural light available in the Community Center, additional lighting is unnecessary, saving on energy and related costs. We also use low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, glues, and adhesives to improve air quality.
Water-Efficient Landscaping: Community Center
St. Mary's Academy uses plant species that are drought resistant and able to thrive naturally in our area, eliminating the need to irrigate, and saving on water and energy. Our use of native species and non-invasive adaptive plant varieties also preserves local biodiversity.