Green Top Ten - Buildings for Education
PCC Newberg Center, Portland, Oregon —
Hood River Middle School Music and Science Building, Hood River, Oregon —
Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania —
UC Merced Long Range Development Plan, Merced, California —
The PCC Newberg Center building also serves as a small-scale testing ground for new energy conservation technologies and strategies that the college intends to deploy across its other locations.
Anticipating its changing role as the campus develops, the center was designed to eventually be adapted for use as a student union. Its 30-by-30-foot (nine-by-nine-meter) structural bays can be combined to form larger common rooms.
The building has a steel structure and is clad primarily in glass, brick, and structural insulating panels, which are also used in the roof areas. The building's longer axis is oriented east-west, along a circulation spine and beneath a south-facing pitched roof canopy. The canopy in turn supports a 109-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) array. The canopy extends well beyond the spine's glazed south and east walls, providing shade and serving to mark the main entrance at the building's eastern end.
Inside the Newberg Center, three large classrooms and an administrative area are arrayed along the northern side of the circulation spine, receiving diffuse daylight from the glazed south wall. At its western end, the spine widens as it turns nearly 90 degrees, creating a large common area that also serves as a foyer for a multipurpose room.
The building form also prominently displays the facility's many passive systems, each finely tuned to the climatic conditions of Oregon's Willamette Valley. A heavy reliance on diffuse daylighting is evident throughout the design.
Classrooms are daylit in several ways: from above, using a large central diffuser located at the apex of each room's pyramidal vault ceiling; on their north sides, by clear-glass windows; and on their south sides, by windows of frosted glass that minimize visual distractions from the adjacent corridor.
The building uses no mechanical cooling except in its server closet, relying instead on a natural ventilation system that includes the building's most visually identifiable architectural features: five regularly spaced towers topped by wind-driven ventilation turbines, located along the northern edge of the main roof canopy. For heating, a closed-loop hydronic system circulates hot water through the exposed concrete floor slab.
The building's total energy use intensity (EUI) is 8.5 kilowatt-hours per square foot per year (91 kWh per square meter per year). With the rooftop photovoltaic array, the building's net EUI is zero.
Hood River Middle School Music and Science Building • Hood River, Oregon
About 90 miles (140 kilometers) to the northeast, in the Columbia River Gorge, stands another green school building in the small town of Hood River, Oregon. Hood River Middle School, which occupies a historic former high school campus, has a new Music and Science Building that earned Platinum certification under the LEED for Schools program.
Designed by Opsis Architecture, the new 7,200-square-foot (670-square-meter), brick-and-concrete-clad classroom building includes a large greenhouse that anchors a 0.5-acre (0.2-hectare) garden, where students in the school's Outdoor Classroom Project learn a science curriculum centered on the principles of permaculture.
The modestly scaled building expresses its programmatic duality with two distinct gable-roof volumes that anchor each end of the building's main north-south axis. At the southern end, the larger of the two gabled volumes contains the music room, while the science classroom occupies the northern volume. Joining them, a lower, flat-roofed area contains building entry and service spaces. Cascading down and to the west, the peaked-roof greenhouse extends from the science room, completing the building's L-shaped plan and sheltering the building entrance from the strong Gorge winds.
A 1940s bus barn was deconstructed to make way for the new facility, contributing salvaged materials, such as the wood that forms distinctive scissor trusses in the music and science classrooms, along with wood for interior wall framing. The new building's primary structure is insulated concrete formwork, which provides a balance of good insulation and thermal mass for the area's considerable seasonal temperature swings.
Similar to the PCC Newberg Center, the middle school building uses a closed-loop hydronic system embedded in its concrete floor slab for heating and cooling.
Daylighting levels in the classroom areas are optimized by combining traditional windows with skylights in the music room, and by using clerestory windows in the science classroom. Triple-glazed windows were used throughout the project to provide a thermal and acoustic barrier, and a trellis with deciduous vines provides seasonal shading of south-facing windows.
The tall classroom spaces also rely on operable lower and upper windows, and on rooftop ventilators for cross and stack-effect ventilation. At times when heating is required, fresh air is warmed by passing through a plenum behind the building's 35-kilowatt PV system, absorbing radiant heat from the solar panels, and also by passing through a heat-recovery ventilator.
A 14,000-gallon (53,000-liter) underground water tank stores harvested rainwater for use in flushing the building's toilets and irrigating the students' garden. With the help of a new bioswale, the school is able to manage 100 percent of stormwater onsite.
The building's total EUI is 7.15 kWh/ft2/year (76 kWh/m2/year). According to Opsis Architecture, the building performed at a net EUI of -0.14 kWh/ft2/year (-1.6 kWh/m2/year) for the year ending May 1, 2012, meaning that the PV array is generating slightly more electricity than is consumed in the building.
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