A Montessori teaching based charter school located near the east coast of central Florida designed for Pre-K thru 8th grade. The desire of the school administration was to create the most environmentally friendly and green school with an extremely tight budget of $76 per square foot.
The school has 25 classrooms, plus a music room, science lab, art room, library, cafetorium, multi-purpose room, computer labs, and administrative offices.
The campus was designed to the highest levels of energy efficiency and achieved an 80% reduction in energy use over conventional public schools built at the same time, and has received a US EPA Energy Star for High Performance Buildings Rating of 95 out of a 100 possible points. The building is considered a Net Zero Capable (NzC) building. Upon installation of a small 60 KW PV array if funding becomes available, the school will reach that goal. Designed into the building is the capability for a fully integrated future PV array with enough capability to meet all its electrical needs and to produce enough to generate a revenue stream for the school.
The building construction is slab on grade and tilt-up concrete exterior wall panels for strength and thermal mass. All Interior materials are selected for their environmental qualities, with low VOC paints, environmentally friendly floor finishes (including a combination of diamond polished concrete, linoleum, and recyclable modular carpet) depending on the space usage requirements. Operable windows are located throughout the complex. High albedo (reflective) insulated standing seam white metal roofing throughout and are designed and sloped to the south to receive the future solar arrays.
Daylighting and natural ventilation are the principle design strategies behind the entire layout for the school. All the student occupied classroom spaces are fully day-lit and can be fully passively ventilated with operable windows. The library, multi-purpose room, and computer, science, and art labs, each share the day-lit / fully ventilated strategies as the classrooms. It’s common to visit on a typical school day and find no electric lighting being used in the classrooms and student occupied spaces.
Even within the extremely tight budget, the HVAC system was not compromised on, and provides near hospital quality air. A state of the art computer controlled chilled water with thermal storage system that generates all cooling at night during the off-peak utility billing periods and cools the building with substantially less electric consumption throughout the day.