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 —
Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The new Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (KCAPA) stands on the former site of a freight rail terminus in a distressed eastern area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The school was designed as a joint venture between SMP Architects and SRK Architects, working with the School District of Philadelphia, the teen activist group Youth United for Change, and other stakeholders.
The student group pushed for a "green" school and got one: the building is Platinum-certified under LEED for Schools 2.0.
In remediating and reclaiming a blighted site, the project also serves multiple functions within the community, providing acres of much-needed green space, forging a connection between disparate neighborhoods, and serving as a venue for community sustainability-education programs.
SMP and SRK designed a two-story building that is only 88,450 square feet (8,217 square meters) in area — less than 75 percent of the size that the school district had planned for. Those space savings were achieved partly through compact circulation, along with a ground-source heat-pump system that reduced mechanical space. Even so, the design team was able to exceed programmatic requirements for the school, adding a separate theater (rather than one combined with the cafeteria) and a painting studio.
On the financial side, this savings in overall building area helped to fund the school's many green features. In addition, a less built-up site allowed the design team to distribute programmatic elements in a way that maximizes green space and optimizes solar access, despite the less-than-ideal north-south orientation of the long, narrow site.
The school comprises a series of four distinct, generally east-west-oriented volumes, linked by a narrow fifth volume that runs north-south. The northernmost and southernmost volumes contain the school's gymnasium and auditorium spaces, respectively, while the two inner wings contain classroom spaces arranged along double-loaded corridors.
The north-south volume contains the school's primary circulation spine, as well as administrative, library, and cafeteria spaces. Every classroom and common area is afforded views of the surrounding green space.
Extensive glazing and the use of daylighting tubes in interior corridors allows electric lighting to be off during daytime hours in 98 percent of the building. Operable windows provide fresh air throughout the school, and the building's primary heating and cooling system is provided by the ground-source heat-pump system, served by 96 wells located under the playing field.
Almost 70 percent of the seven-acre (2.8-hectare) site is green space, including both a large vegetable garden and a rain garden that separates the building's western facade from the adjacent elevated transit line. With pervious paving, vegetated roofs, and an underground rainwater catchment cistern, the school is able to manage all stormwater onsite.
The building's reported total EUI falls near the high end for the 2012 AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects. At 17 kWh/ft2/year (190 kWh/m2/year), it represents a reduction of only 22 percent from the national average for buildings of its type.
UC Merced Long Range Development Plan • Merced, California
The University of California, Merced, located in California's Central Valley, is the first new campus in the University of California (UC) system in 40 years. Begun in 2002 when the UC Regents adopted the first campus plan, the campus opened for academic instruction in fall 2005.
An ambitious new sustainable development plan for the campus was adopted by the regents in 2009. This Long Range Development Plan is the first planning project to be named to the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects since the list's inception in 1997.
Upon its completion, the university will accommodate 25,000 students and will house half its student body in a pedestrian-oriented campus at the heart of the 815-acre (330-hectare) site, located outside the city of Merced and bordered by 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) of permanently preserved grasslands.
The 2009 Long Range Development Plan calls for every new building to achieve LEED Gold certification or better. It anticipates the development of several residential neighborhoods and a 24-hour mixed-use "town center" that together will eventually surround the campus, and also calls for the development of alternative-energy generation facilities and extensive support for nonvehicular transit.
The plan calls for the imposition of a semiregular street grid across much of the site, interspersed with landscaping relying extensively on native species. A sitewide stormwater management strategy makes use of open spaces, including two large bioswale areas, and also accommodates two existing meandering agricultural canals.
By 2020, when the university expects enrollment to be at 40 percent of the planned peak, the net energy use is projected to be zero. In part, this will be achieved through energy conservation, both in the design of highly efficient buildings and through scaling efficiencies.
The LEED Gold-certified Central Plant provides one such efficiency. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and Arup, this two million-gallon (7.5 million-liter) thermal energy storage facility cools and stores water for a campus-wide hydronic cooling system.
Currently, 20 percent of the remaining electricity need is met by an onsite one-megawatt PV array, which is slated for expansion to meet 100 percent of campus demand by 2020.
The first phase of the UC Merced long-range plan has been completed, and for that phase, a total EUI of 3.2 kWh/ft2/year (35 kWh/m2/year) is reported. The net EUI is an even more impressive 2.3 kWh/ft2/year (25 kWh/m2/year).
Among the completed buildings on the UC Merced campus are the LEED Platinum-targeting Social Sciences and Management Building (2011), designed by STUDIOS Architecture, and the LEED Gold-certified Science and Engineering Building 1 (2006), designed by EHDD.
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