David Suzuki Public School – LEED Platinum

When the Dr. David Suzuki Public School opened in September
2010, it became the first educational facility in Canada built to a LEED® Platinum standard. It has been inspiring more and more school boards across the country to target different green building certifications, with the hope of making carbon-free schools the new standard of the future.


Planning for the Dr. David Suzuki Public School project originally began in 2005, and was initially going to be a standard new-build aimed at consolidating two existing schools. Retired Superintendent of Program Rod Peturson suggested an environmental educational theme called “Earth Keepers” for this new school development, which ended up being adopted. The Greater Essex County District School Board approached the Ministry of Energy about the possibility of developing this new school as a demonstration site for innovative energy efficient technologies. The school received the support of the Provincial Government for a demonstration site for proven and innovative energy and environmental technologies. The school board suspended its usual process for naming new schools and approached Dr. David Suzuki if he would permit the use of his name on this exciting new school project. Dr. Suzuki agreed to have a public building bear his name (for the first time). With ambitious environmental focus, it was decided a LEED® Platinum rating would be the overall goal for the project. A myriad of leading edge proven environmental technologies were chosen by the architects at McLean + Associates to be a part of this project, including a SolarWall® air heating system to address ventilation heating.


The Dr. David Suzuki Public School features geothermal heating and cooling systems, solar PV panels, a windmill, grey water recovery & reuse systems, GPS tracking skylights, solar light tubes, and a highly reflective roof in addition to the SolarWall® system. The 172ft2 (16m2 ) SolarWall system is located on the corner of the South-facing exterior wall of the second level science classroom. The solar system was blended in seamlessly with the innovative front façade of the facility. A duct connection from one of the air handling units (AHU) draws outside air in through the SolarWall system to be preconditioned (pre-heated using the sun) prior to entering the AHU during the heating season.