Ursuline Academy of Dallas has expanded its campus with the French Family Science, Math and Technology Center, the first building in the Southwest to receive the LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

These environmentally sustainable facilities have been shown to use fewer resources while improving the learning process. Better indoor air quality and the use of natural light reduces the rate of absences and sick days and results in higher test scores.

The building will have 25 percent lower energy consumption, saving about $23,000 a year. It will use less water and produce lower carbon dioxide emissions. Re-using construction materials will divert about 77 percent of waste from landfills. Daylight harvesting systems help utilize more natural light in the classrooms.

Ursuline also is incorporating sustainability studies into the curriculum, using the building itself as a learning tool.