CHPS Releases Fourth Edition of CA-CHPS Criteria

The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) released the fourth edition of the California CHPS Criteria (CA-CHPS) on Aug. 25, 2014. According to Chester Widom, California State Architect and CA-CHPS Advisory Committee co-chair, "The improvements in the 2014 edition of the CHPS Criteria will have a positive impact on the environment and specifically on the sustainability of schools in California."

Schools designed according to CA-CHPS Criteria emphasize indoor air quality, natural lighting and excellent acoustics in order to maximize student health, comfort and achievement. Aaron Jobson, co-chair of CHPS' California Advisory Committee says that, "numerous studies have been conducted on the impact of school facilities on children's health and productivity, and the results are unequivocal. From ventilation to natural light to the use of nontoxic chemicals, how we design and operate our schools has a tremendous impact on our kids."

He adds that this new version of CA-CHPS incorporates the latest thinking of architects, engineers and state agencies on how best to construct the next generation of schools that are healthy, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

According to the CHPS news release concerning this new version, there are a number of key advances:

  • It establishes indoor environmental quality as the top priority;
  • It embraces design toward zero net energy;
  • It adds an Operations & Metrics category to ensure actual performance of high-performance schools and the continued realization of benefits over time;
  • It streamlines the CHPS Verified documentation process through the adoption of a plansheet approach;
  • It offers the High Performance Transition Plan as a pathway for incremental improvement and recognition for schools that undertake a series of renovation/modernization projects. (This is an extremely important element because with the passage of Proposition 39 — $2.5 billion will be spent over the next five years on energy efficiency retrofits of existing California schools.)
  • New California-specific credits include a District Sustainability Plan, Active Energy Management for Energy Efficiency, School Farm, Rainwater Catchment, and Electric Vehicle Charging station.

"The importance of this new CA-CHPS Criteria cannot be overstated," says Jessica Mack, CHPS Vice Chair, and Demand Side Management Manager at Southern California Edison. "By integrating the Title 24 Energy Standards and CALGreen, this new CA-CHPS version provides a clear path forward for school districts interested in offering the highest quality learning environment."

The 2014 CA-CHPS Criteria can be downloaded at

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