Posted: November 06, 2009
CSDA winners by category: Civic
Douglas County Elementary School Prototype
RB+B/Hutton Architects LLC
This 71,000-square-foot school was built on a 10-acre site in Douglas County for $12.25 million. As one of the fastest-growing counties in the country, the Douglas County School District needed to build 11elementary schools to meet its growing demand.
This design for an affordable, sustainable elementary school reduces energy consumption, lowers utility costs, improves indoor air quality and enhances students' learning.
A central part of the design was the development of thematic landscape elements for each school that draw on local history and character or reflect the specific curriculum of each school.
• The design maximizes the potential for daylight in the classrooms when the building is oriented on an east-west axis, with the classrooms facing north-south.
• Shaping ceilings distribute the window daylight evenly. Second-floor spaces are supported by nearly 100 tubular daylight devices. The end result is glare-free space that rarely uses the photocell-controlled electric lighting.
• The target for energy use is nearly 60 percent below the average for Douglas County schools.
• Several schools share artificial turf fields with local park districts, reducing water use and optimizing public open space.
• Low-flow toilet fixtures with infrared shutoffs minimize the impact of 650 students using the school over the course of the school day.
The idea of a prototype is often talked about but rarely implemented in sustainability initiatives. This project had some well-defined metrics around energy use (kBtu/SF, % reduction), and included passive solar design and architecturally intelligent shading that takes advantage of Colorado's sunny environment to light classrooms without introducing glare or unwanted heat."
The $23-million project, which replaced an existing middle school but kept part of the original structure, is the first school in the K-12 category to earn a LEED Gold certification. Designing sustainable features was funded in part with a $250,000 grant from CORE (Community Office of Resource Efficiency). The 111,000-square-foot middle school shares a 29-acre campus with an elementary school. The architects aimed to meet the school district's goals for high-performance design, improving educational spaces and capitalizing on the site's natural setting
• Daylighting strategies include the use of exterior sun shades, interior daylighting devices, lighting controls and high-performance glazing.
• Operable windows and daylighting throughout could easily allow the building to function without power.
• Low-flow plumbing fixtures were used throughout the building, including dual-flush toilets, waterless urinals and infrared-sensing faucets.
• About half of the construction waste was diverted from the landfill and casework, and furniture from the old middle school was reused.
• The direct-digital-controlled HVAC system releases no ozone-depleting chemicals, is zoned to small areas and has CO2 sensors to adjust the amount of fresh air.
This LEED Gold-certified building is notable for its reuse of the original structure and how the architects handled a challenging building orientation that includes east- and west-facing classrooms. The use of an evaporative cooling system represents a great example for many Colorado school projects, as does the retaining of the natural landscape and an integrated stormwater management system."
Palmer Ridge High School, Monument
Architect: H+L Architecture
This school in Monument has the largest geothermal system in Colorado - it features 200 wells, each 400 feet deep, that heat and cool using the Earth's stable underground temperature. The 219,370-square-foot school sits on 69 acres. The $45.4 million project was "designed for a community that has a love of nature, the great outdoors, and the values of honesty, integrity, and simplicity," H+L wrote in its entry. "The design embraces natural materials and finds inspiration in the values of the community."
• Carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by more than 500 tons per year (25 percent less carbon dioxide) compared to the average high school.
• Green features, including geothermal heating and light sensors, will save the school district about $22,596 a year.
• Sensors are present on all restroom fixtures, including water closets, bathroom sinks and urinals.
• Hot water recirculation on all water loops also conserve water.
• About 5 percent to 10 percent of the structure was built from recycled content, and 5 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills.
Although large mechanical systems may be overcompensating for opportunities not captured in the shell design, the overall projected energy performance of the project is stellar. In addition, the Xeric landscaping is a great model for embracing native plants in an aesthetically compelling manner and dramatically reduces the need for irrigation water. Exposed steel beams and other visual materials will engage the students in the design of the building."