High School Student’s Ingenious Contribution to Lloyd Center’s Living Building Challenge™

At the Lloyd Center for the Environment in Dartmouth, MA, a unique collaboration between Ryan Fortin, a graduate high school student, and Dartmouth High School’s Engineering and Robotics teacher, Samuel Brodsky, has resulted in the creation and installation of four walk-off mats. This initiative not only enhances the Lloyd Center’s Living Building Challenge™ (LBC™) compliant building but also showcased the power of community and educational partnerships.  This project became Ryan’s Senior Capstone Project for his graduation.  He saw this as an opportunity to design and build an interesting aspect of a living building.  He viewed his contribution as “a great experience”.

The Project

The Lloyd Center’s Living Building Challenge™ requires the use of sustainable materials and practices. To meet these stringent standards, the team selected FSC-certified wood, known for its eco-friendly and responsible forestry practices. Fortin, with guidance from Brodsky, took on the challenge of designing and constructing both interior and exterior walk-off mats. These mats play a crucial role in maintaining the cleanliness and sustainability of the building by reducing dirt and pollutants brought indoors.

The Process

  • Design and Planning: The project began with a detailed planning phase where designs were drafted for the walk-off mats. The designs had to meet specific dimensions and durability requirements to ensure they would withstand heavy foot traffic while maintaining aesthetic appeal.
  • Material selection: The choice of FSC-certified wood was essential to align with the LBC™ requirements. Fortin learned about the importance of using sustainable materials, which not only support environmental conservation but also contribute to the health and well-being of the building’s occupants.
  • Construction: The construction phase was a hands-on learning experience. Ryan utilized skills necessary to cut, assemble, and finish the mats. This process involved precise measurements and craftsmanship to ensure the mats fit perfectly in their designated areas.
  • Installation: With the mats completed, the final step was the installation at the Welcome Center. Fortin and Brodsky worked together to secure the mats both inside and outside the building, ensuring they were firmly in place and functional.

The Impact

This project exemplified the Lloyd Center’s mission to engage the community in environmental education and stewardship. By involving a high school student in a real-world sustainability project, the Center provided an invaluable educational experience. Ryan gained practical skills in engineering, project management, and sustainable practices, which are essential for future environmental leaders. Moreover, the project supports the Lloyd Center’s efforts to maintain its status as a model for green building practices. The walk-off mats contribute to a healthier indoor environment by minimizing the introduction of outdoor contaminants. This significant addition helps the Lloyd Center in its broader mission to protect and sustain the local ecosystem through education, research, and community involvement.

The successful installation of the walk-off mats at the Lloyd Center is a testament to the power of collaboration between educational institutions and environmental organizations. It highlights the importance of hands-on learning experiences and the impact they can have on both students and the community. The Lloyd Center continues to inspire and engage individuals in environmental understanding, fostering a legacy of respect and responsibility towards nature.